21 AUGUST 2019
ICSA president Edmond Phelan has said he is disappointed that no additional money will be put in farmers pockets as a result of the beef talks. “While the in-spec bonus has been widened to include 4+ fat scores, the inclusion of O- grades will benefit the big feedlots most and do nothing to improve the lot of suckler farmers producing the top- quality cattle,” he said.
Speaking following the conclusion of the current round of talks Mr Phelan said, “Our hands were tied regarding price from the outset. We could negotiate, but not on price, and when price is the only thing that really matters, that was problematic,” he said.
Mr Phelan said while some progress was made and agreements were reached on a range of issues, none will have the sort of impact required to make the difference needed. “Our efforts will now move the review of the grid which is scheduled to be completed by the end of September. The priority must be to reconfigure the grid in such a way that it gives better bonuses to U and R+ grades without further deductions on lower grade cattle.”
“A commitment was also given to improving market transparency and this must proceed with haste. The promised transposition of the EU Directive on Unfair Trading Practices is an important step on the road in curtailing the greedy practices and excessive profiteering at retail level. However, we need to follow this with legislation to audit the whole retail chain and discern whether there is a fair share of margins allocated to all parts of the chain.”