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Beef Taskforce meets

The third meeting of the Beef Taskforce took place yesterday (Thursday 25 June) by video conference.

At the meeting, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed commented: “Substantial progress has been made in the delivery of commitments under the beef sector agreement. Work on the actions to be implemented under the beef sector agreement has been ongoing throughout the pandemic and I am pleased to see that engagement between stakeholders can still progress notwithstanding the current restrictions on physical meetings.”

The Minister added: “I am encouraged to hear of the progress on the Market Transparency studies by Grant Thornton, as transparency is essential to maintaining 

mutually beneficial relationships across the supply chain to secure the future of Irish beef.”

At the meeting, Bord Bia presented on the current market situation as well as providing an update on the progress of the draft application to the EU Commission for PGI Status for Irish grass fed beef.

Speaking at the Taskforce, Macra President Thomas Duffy, called on processors to immediately address the price differential paid to farmers: “Farmers who are in a position to send livestock to Northern Ireland are receiving a higher price, but the question must be asked, how can the same processors pay a higher price for an hours additional travel.”

Figures presented at the Taskforce showed that lives exports increased by 38% to Northern Ireland despite a significant drop in overall live exports especially on the back of weakened demand for veal calves on the continent.

Meanwhile, IFA President Tim Cullinan delivered a clear message to the beef factory representatives. The IFA President said cattle prices in our main export market in the UK have increased by 40c/kg since April 25th, while Irish prices have only risen by 22c/kg. “The beef market in the UK, where we export most of our beef, is rising rapidly week on week while our prices are struggling to move on, as the factories keep the handbrake on the trade.” He said beef finishers have incurred massive beef price losses this spring, in the order of €200 per head. “It’s essential the Minister for Agriculture immediately opens applications and makes speedy payments under the new €50m Beef Finishers’ Scheme”.

The IFA President also raised issues on the Bord Bia Grass fed and PGI proposals around the lack of proper consultation with IFA and farmers and the need for more engagement. IFA has raised the exclusion of young bulls from eligibility for grass-fed and the confusion over excluding the first nine months of age as key issues. “Farmers want to know the details around the ownership of the grass-fed and PGI initiatives. Who will own and who control the brands?”

Agreed minutes and relevant update documents will be published on DAFM’s website: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmingsectors/beef/beeftaskforce/