IRELAND – Over 4,000 farmers are threatening to withdraw from a national beef assurance scheme unless industry negotiations yield a change in specification and beef pricing.
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) has threatened withdrawal of cooperation with the Quality Assurance Scheme (QAS), “unless progress can be made on key issues.”
Alterations to specifications on cattle over the last twelve month are said to have cost Irish farmers €170 million, said ICSA President Patrick Kent.
Principal ICSA objectives are to end the major discounting for cattle over 30-months of age; finalise a realistic weight and age limit for bull beef; secure a bonus for all Quality Assured Cattle and end the 70-day residency requirement.
The ICSA sees the residency requirement, which are not official specification but used by factories, as a way to “undermine free trade and competition at livestock markets.”
Producers were shocked earlier this year when bull beef age was reduced to 16 months.
On whether threats to withdraw cooperation for the QAS, Mr Kent said: “We are holding back on this threat to see if progress can be made.”
Speaking ahead of Monday’s meeting with Meat Industry Ireland, he added: “But we will continue to sign up farmers for the campaign if today’s meeting does not yield any breakthrough.”
TheMeatSite News Desk