The Independent Farmers of Ireland has democratically elected three national representatives who will be “able to sit at the negotiating table with the full backing of all protesters and facilitate any proposal that is reached”.
The group said it is taking this course of action to provide a “united voice in the face of continuous harassment of our individual members by big businesses”.
The Independent Farmers of Ireland has stated that the original goal of its series of protests – which are taking place outside beef processing plants across the country – is “the survival of the sustainable Irish family farm”.
Its has published the following 13-point manifesto;
- Legal action – all injunctions placed upon farmers will be removed and no farmer will be held liable for costs be this court or other;
- Farmers are operating at a loss – establish an independent review of the beef supply chair chaired by members of the EU trading standards to establish the value of a complete beef carcass, including the fifth-quarter and the percentage of this allocated to the primary producer. Farmers continue to produce beef at a loss. We would like a percentage of the price of our beef sold by the retailer that reflects our work fairly and allows us to make a continuous profit. If the retailer offers a special, they take the hit, not the farmer. The farming industry must remain able to continuously make a profitable margin; sustainability is key. We wish for this review to take place at least annually;
- 30-month age limit – Remove the 30-month age limit for QPS qualification. Only a small percentage of beef sold is required to be under 30-months of age. Instead, let farmers be paid bonuses for producing cattle under 30-months, if required, and bonuses for cattle under 36-months;
- 24-month age limit – same as above;
- 16-month age limit – same as above;
- 70-day residency removed – if an animal is once quality-assured, it should always remain quality-assured.
- Put Irish beef farmers first – A huge percentage of beef is exported in this country, yet beef continues to be imported into Ireland. Make Irish beef a priority. Stop imports, put Irish beef first;
- Labelling – Clear and transparent labelling so the country of origin of beef is immediately transparent;
- Protecting farmers – Processors must agree not to discriminate against any person who stood on a picket line with any beef-related protest;
- Quality-assurance – A review of Bord Bia certification that awards the same certification to grass-fed beef as intensively-produced feedlot cattle;
- Accurate information – Independent outside arbitration in the forthcoming review of the QPS system to ensure all sides are supplying accurate information;
- An explanation – A statement from Minister Creed and Fine Gael explaining how they feel the beef talks have reached a successful conclusion. The beef industry generates 2.9 billion every year, yet the primary producer is threatened with legal action by big businesses and prevented from looking for a wage increase by the Competition Authority.
Image source: Independent Farmers of Ireland \ Twitter