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Coveney Meets IFA on Beef Issues, Minister Calls for Flexibility from Factories

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD met with the Irish Farmers Association today to discuss the current issues in the beef sector. As part of an ongoing response to both immediate and strategic issues, the Minister had already convened a forum involving all stakeholders in April and June, which identified a number of issues that needed to be addressed.

Today’s meeting focussed on farmer concerns, in particular in relation to the strict application of market specifications, which is impacting on the price farmers are receiving for heavier cattle. Speaking after the meeting, the Minister acknowledged that beef farmers had legitimate concerns in this regard. “There is no doubt that impact of price penalties for heavier animals is felt, most acutely, by some of our most commercial beef farmers,  who have bred stock for high feed conversion efficiency. Processors need to keep efficient beef specialists in this vital export industry, and every effort should be made to ensure that this sector is developed and nurtured. It is acknowledged that specifications in our most lucrative markets include a weight component, and this is something that cannot be ignored. There is an immediacy to the pressure on beef farmers at present however, and farmers in any sector need time to adjust to changed market circumstances. Farmers and processors now need to step up their engagement on these complex issues. In the meantime I think it would certainly be helpful if the industry showed as much flexibility as possible on weight specification in the short term. This would allow a window for the kind of constructive engagement between the parties on both immediate and strategic issues that is essential if the sector is to develop to its potential”, said the Minister.

Concluding, Minister Coveney confirmed his intention to continue his ongoing engagement with all stakeholders in the sector on issues of concern.


View Press Release as a PDF:  DAFMPR 120/2014 (pdf 537Kb) 

Date Released: 28 August 2014