Weekend agreement ‘warrants been given a chance’ – INHFA

The agreement on changes to the beef sector hammered out over the weekend “warrants being given a chance”, according to the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA).

Colm O’Donnell, the association’s president, said that the deal “has the potential to deliver significant structural change that ensures a better deal for farmers”.

“While some farmers may believe the deal has not delivered enough, there are important elements especially around the implementation of the deal, and proposals around independent reviews that warrants it be given a chance,” said O’Donnell.

The deal contains a number of ‘interventions’ for beef farmers, including, but not limited to:

  • The immediate introduction of a new bonus of 8c/kg for steers and heifers aged between 30-36 months, which meet all non-age related existing in-spec criteria, and which up to now have not received any bonus;
  • An immediate increase of two thirds of the current in-spec for steers and heifers from 12c/kg to 20c/kg;
  • The in-spec 70-day residency requirement will be reduced to 60 days on the last farm;
  • An immediate scientific review of the Quality Payment Grid by Teagasc.

As well as these developments, a ‘Beef Market Taskforce’ is set to be established, which O’Donnell said would be “tasked with ensuring robust implementation of the commitments entered into in this agreement”.

The INHFA president also pointed to other significant elements of the agreement – a review and examination of the price composition of animal values.

“Through these reviews there is the potential to deliver on concerns farmers have around the area of transparency,” said O’Donnell.

He went on to stress the “legitimate grievances” of farmers, and called for pickets to be lifted so the deal can be “given a chance”.