‘Realistic and deliverable agreement reached’ – IFA

After a difficult weekend of negotiations, a “realistic and deliverable agreement has been reached, and will be recommended by all organisations”, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

In a statement, IFA president Joe Healy said: “During a difficult endgame to the talks, the farm organisations stood together to get the best available outcome for farmers.

Describing it as “far from a perfect deal”, the president said that while there are some aspects which will immediately make a difference, others will “require a lot of further work”.

Details of the agreement include:
  • An increase in the in-spec bonus for steers and heifers from 12c/kg to 20c/kg;
  • A new bonus of 8c/kg for steers and heifers aged between 30 to 36 months, which meet all non-age related existing in-spec criteria, and which up to now have not received any bonus;
  • A new in-spec bonus of 12c/kg for steers and heifers under 30 months which grade O- and fat class 4+;
  • Reduction in the in-spec 70-day residency requirement to 60 days on the last farm;
  • A new Beef Market Price index from Bord Bia covering cattle prices and beef market prices from our main export markets and offal prices.

Healy said the key elements of the agreement include additional bonuses for In spec cattle and cattle between 30 and 36 months.

As part of ensuring greater transparency, a Beef Price Index will be rolled out from next week to provide greater transparency on cattle prices.

Meanwhile, a Beef Market Task Force will be set up and independently chaired to oversee the implementation of all the elements in the agreement, with clear timelines and full stakeholder engagement, IFA livestock chair Angus Woods noted.

According to the IFA, the agreement also includes:
  • An immediate scientific review of the Quality Payment Grid by Teagasc;
  • An independent review of market and customer requirements, specifically in relation to the four in-spec bonus criteria currently in operation in the Irish beef sector;
  • An independent examination of the price composition of the total value of the animal, including the fifth quarter, along the supply chain;
  • A summary of competition law issues as relevant to the Irish beef sector.

In addition, Bord Bia will further intensify promotional activity for Irish beef across key EU markets and China and develop a PGI (Protected Geographical Indicator) for Irish beef.

From a Department of Agriculture point of view, in advance of the implementation of a new EU regulation on price reporting across the EU, the department will provide additional detailed price reporting on the Beef PriceWatch app.

A consultation process will be launched shortly on the transposition of the Unfair Trading Practices (UTP) Directive, including consideration of the requirement for an independent regulator.

The department will report its carcass classification inspection results on a regular basis. An appeals system for manual grading factories is being introduced.

Meanwhile, Teagasc will review the hot/cold weighing system, the department will support the development of beef producer organisations and the department will continue to support the live export trade.