A new Beef Plan Group that wishes to retain control of beef from birth to slaughter and beyond; return as a minimum, the cost of production plus a margin and reclaim respect within the beef industry is seeking the support of approximately 40,000 farmers.
Beef Plan 2018-2025 was produced by “beef farmers for beef farmers”, four months ago following consultation among 350 beef farmers; finishers of both suckler-bred and dairy-bred beef and cattle purchasers.
The establishment of the group stemmed from frustration among cattle farmers over factory prices.
Speaking to That’s Farming, Eamon Corley - a spokesperson for Beef Plan Group said:
“We felt that the most important issue was the price that farmers are getting for cattle and the control that factories seem to have over cattle.”
“There seemed to be one factory group setting the price of cattle and every other group would follow.” He added.
“We think the factories have an unfair advantage. In American, factory feedlots have been proven to be illegal because it is a form of insider trading.”
Beef Plan 2018-2025 contains a total of 86 proposals across 8 different phases - sustainable price; factories; producer groups; animal health; purchasing groups (phase one and phase two); farm safety; government schemes; farm unions and abattoir.
Eamon said that part of the group’s plan is to encourage bodies within the agricultural sector to work for farmers and deliver money for farmers.
“We think everyone including farmers; factories; supermarkets and customers will benefit from the plan. What is currently in place is not sustainable.”
“The reason it is not sustainable is the farmer is not getting a big enough share of the retail price to let him survive and if he doesn’t survive, then the rest of the whole industry is in trouble,” Eamon stressed.
Mr. Corley outlined that the founders have earmarked different three different stages for their plan - stage 1 - compiling the plan; stage two - making farmers aware of the plan and stage three - implementing phase one of the plan.
Having now reached the second stage, Beef Plan Group claims to have 1,200 members, although its membership is growing on a daily basis.
Eamon estimates that 80% of the group’s members are male, while women make up to 20%, stressing that these figures are “probably reflective” of what is happening on the ground in farming at present.
Drawing attention to the age profile of members, Eamon highlighted that the real energy for the initiative is coming from young farmers.
“The younger farmers seem to be more passionate about what we are doing than maybe some of the older farmers. A lot of the older farmers are at a stage where they are thinking of retiring or giving up.”
“An older farmer might be happy to plod along and take what he is getting but the younger farmers that are involved in this group are not prepared for work for nothing,” Eamon added.
Suckler Beef Sector
"Every place that produces sucklers in Ireland is on their knees. This is particuarly true in the case of the West of Ireland because that whole area depends heavily on the suckler cow."
"It is the backbone of quality beef production, which is what our beef industry is all about,” Eamon said.
In addition to the support received from farmers, various livestock marts dotted across reland and beef breed societies have expressed an interest in the initiative.
“I have been talking to mart managers over the past few days and the number of cattle coming through their marts is down. The level of confidence in beef at the moment is so low.” Eamon stressed.
The group’s next step is to undertake a nationwide campaign, which will involve local and national media; the appointment of one contact representative per county; the production of flyers and a social media campaign.
All farmers who join the “Beef Plan” will be given full access to the plan; members will have an opportunity to add to and strengthen the plan.
Farmers will be charged €10 to join, although the group has not collected any money as of yet.
Candidates interested in joining the group can make contact with the following;
- Louth; Dublin; Wicklow; Wexford; Offaly; Cork; Clare; Sligo; Leitrim and Monaghan - Eamon Corley - 0862228246 Meath - Paul Fitzpatrick - 0860501325 & William Fay - 0877629170
- Longford - Emmet Duffy - 0868734292;
- Westmeath - David Whelehan 0862218202;
- Laois - Enda Fagan - 0871927722;
- Kildare - Carmel Lalor 0872378272;
- Carlow - Tommy - 0872412727;
- Kilkenny & Waterford - Alan O’ Brien - 0860568832;
- Kerry - David Murphy 0 0876142761;
- Limerick - Paddy O’ Sullivan - 0878199720 & David Murphy - 0876142761
- Tipperary - Peter Cullivan - 0879184629
- Galway - Kevin O Brien - 0876550198 & Nigel O Kane - 0872107144
- Galway E - Liam Mulloy - 0877872624; Stephen Kanovan - 0872757070; Eoin Donnelly - 0872475968 and Maura Canning - 0876478771.
- Mayo - Declan Molloy - 0860479551 & Aidan McHale 0860770700
- Roscommon - Ollie Naughton - 0868119142; Philip Leech - 0857760732 & David Creighton - 0871237222 & Padraig O’ Connor - 0866027509.
- Donegal - Kieren Logue - 0861507332
- Cavan - Pat Smyth - 0872573683 & Padraig Duffy - 0863379010.