The beef agreement brokered over the weekend will deliver a price increase through additional bonuses, but more importantly, has the potential to deliver significant structural change that ensures a better deal for farmers, according to the Irish Natura & Hill Farmers’ Association.
In addressing the agreement brokered following the marathon talks, National President Colm O’Donnell stated that “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 being given a chance”.
“The agreement will for the first time pay a new in-spec bonus of 8 cent/kg for steers and heifers between 30 and 36 months as well as an increase in the current in-spec bonus from 12c/kg to 20c/kg.""The agreement also includes a commitment to review the Quality Payment Grid and a reduction in the residency rules from 70 down to 60 days. ”
In addition to the improved bonuses we will, he stated, “see the establishment of a beef market taskforce involving all stakeholders and tasked with ensuring a robust implementation of the commitments entered into in this agreement".
He pointed out that another important element of this agreement is the independent review of market and customer requirements and an independent examination of the price composition of the total value of the animal.
“Through these reviews, there is the potential to deliver on concerns farmers have around the area of transparency.”
The INHFA leader concluded by outlining how the “protests outside the meat factories have been “instrumental in delivering this deal” as well as highlighting to the public the “legitimate grievance” of suckler and beef farmers.
“It has, for maybe the first time ever, given the meat processors cause for concern which is why I believe everything agreed will be implemented on the back of an improving price.”
“For this reason, it’s important that we don’t let the processors off the hook which is why we need to lift the pickets and give this deal a chance.”