January 26th 2015
ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan has said that the option of flat-rate payments for stock at the various grades must be explored at the next meeting of the beef roundtable on February 4th.
“Many farmers are now calling for this option and it needs to be on the table for discussion,” he said. “ICSA has always favoured a payment based on carcase quality, but the current scheme has become so complex as to be almost unworkable and has been hijacked by factories to drive down payments to farmers.”
“The latest meat industry stunt, a €3/head quality assured bonus, is an insult to farmers, and will do nothing to alleviate the situation. Grading and quality assurance are two separate issues, but factories have been using one to manipulate the other.”
“A serious flaw in the current grid system is the lack of an independent appeals process, which must be put in place immediately if farmer confidence is to be restored,” he continued. “If a farmer is unhappy with the price he gets, or simply needs an explanation, he has nowhere to turn.”