Meat Industry Ireland says agreement reached is a step forward for the sector

August 21, 2019

At the conclusion of marathon discussions with the farming organisations, Meat Industry Ireland (MII) is pleased that a wide ranging agreement has been reached.

Over 36 hours of talks, under an independent chair appointed by the Minister, MII constructively engaged in  an effort to address issues put forward by farmer representatives. Progress has been made on a significant number of points and we welcome the agreement reached this morning (Wednesday 21st August).  It is recognised however that the current very weak beef market and the consequential knock-on impact on producer beef prices remains a major pressure point in the sector.

In the course of these difficult negotiations, MII, on behalf of processor members, has worked to find positive outcomes on many of the issues tabled. This agreement has delivered progress on the following:

commitment to a review of the QPS grid by end-September under the auspices of DAFM, Teagasc and Bord Bia aimed at strengthening returns to cattle from the suckler herd;
Aligned to that review, an undertaking to broaden the In-spec bonus criteria to increase the number of eligible animals;
provision of a live weighing service in the lairage, where requested;
four months advance notification of any changes to carcase weight limits;
development of a system to provide farmers with carcase images should they request them;
several measures aimed at increasing transparency in the supply chain including an independent study on price composition along the supply chain, additional price reporting and consensus on the need for an independent Groceries regulator.

MII believes that the best interests of the entire sector and for overall market returns for Irish beef are best achieved through a continued focus on the production of animals that meet the market specifications of key customers at home and in export markets.

To deviate from producing animals that the marketplace requires would have been a retrograde step for the entire sector. As we face the mounting danger of a No-Deal Brexit, the reality is that we need to do everything possible to hold our position in the UK market.  
MII expresses its gratitude to Minister Creed and the independent chair, Michael Dowling and their officials for guiding these talks to a successful conclusion.