Friday, November 14, 2014

Agreement is good news for Meath beef farmers

Fine Gael TD for Meath East, Regina Doherty, has today (Thursday), said the agreement reached on the beef issues will address many of the concerns raised by beef farmers in Co. Meath. An agreement was reached in the early hours of Thursday morning at the Beef Forum chaired by Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney TD.

“This has been an extremely difficult time for beef farmers and this agreement is good news. After nine hours of intense negotiation, Minister Coveney secured the agreement to a comprehensive list of actions that will address many of the concerns that have been raised by beef farmers.

“There will be no price penalties based on weight up to 31st December 2015, no dual base pricing for breed, age or weight and processors are to provide a price incentive for all steers and heifers from Quality Assured farms from 1st January 2015.

“A commitment was made to review the current Quality Payment System (QPS) by the middle of 2015 and measures around price transparency have also been introduced. This is a long-overdue development that I have previously called for.

“This is not the end of negotiations on the beef issue. The Beef Roundtable will continue to oversee the implementation of the agreement and provide a forum for clarifying any issues that may arise. Communication has been key throughout this whole process and I believe these open lines of communication are among the most significant outcomes of this process.

“The Beef Forum cannot direct the processors on pricing as was confirmed to the Minister in correspondence from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission but it can create conditions and introduce measures which will positively impact on pricing. The agreement reached by farmers and stakeholders this morning will be constantly monitored to see how they are impacting on pricing and on costs.

“After many months of uncertainty and distress for beef farmers, I am very pleased that agreement has been reached and I commend all those involved in the lengthy negotiations. This is not the end of the process but it is a very good start and I intend to monitor its progress to ensure that local beef farmers are treated fairly.”

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