‘Minor concessions but no commitment on price’ – INHFA

Responding to the conclusion of the beef talks, and the ensuing agreements and commitments that arose from them, the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA) said that these are “minor concessions”.

“Despite the efforts over the past month for an increase in the price of prime beef, no such commitment was forthcoming from Meat Industry Ireland (MII),” said Colm O’ Donnell, the association’s president.

Speaking after the end of the talks on Tuesday night, August 20, O’Donnell insisted that “the future of sustainable beef farming in Ireland will depend on the implementation of the INHFA’s 10-point plan”.

O’Donnell said that “significant steps” were achieved at the talks in regard to industry support for “key INHFA proposals”.

“Principal among them was the backing of a call for additional funding being required as a priority for a targeted direct support for suckler cows,” he continued.

O’Donnell added that, during the talks, he had told Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, that he “must now act swiftly to secure additional funds, both in his pre-budget negotiations with Government and with the EU Commission”.

The most important message coming from the forum was, according to the INHFA president, “that the minister and his team have established a genuine forum of inclusivity for future serious agricultural sector issues that may arise”.

Farm group responses

The responses to the talks from the various farmer organisations have been mixed, with the general consensus appearing to be that, despite certain reforms and rule changes, the main issue of price for beef cattle remains to be addressed.

Among the main points of contention at the talks was the Quality Payment System (QPS) grid.

In light of this, it was agreed that Teagasc will review the price differentials on the grid in the short term and undertake a full review in the longer term – efforts on this front are expected to convene in mid September.