ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan has said that Bord Bia should take a leaf out of Ornua’s book who yesterday (April 13) announced the suspension of the dairy farmer levy in light of the sector’s difficulties. “ICSA believes that the Bord Bia farmer levy should be suspended until such time as viable markets for cattle carcasses over 420kg can be found.”
“Marketing efforts are simply not working if we cannot secure markets for cattle that exceed the 420kg mark. The reality of the situation is that the meat industry needs to contribute more to Bord Bia as farmers feel that they are getting less and less benefit from the promotion and marketing of beef.”
Many farmers believe that the weight limits are contrived by processors and retailers as a means of squeezing extra profit at the expense of farmers. “There is something fundamentally wrong when it is alleged that high calibre grass fed beef is no longer wanted. Farmers were encouraged under the beef grid to produce better quality, leaner carcasses with the tacit encouragement of Bord Bia and the meat factories. Now these farmers are being hung out to dry and we are told that no marketing efforts can solve the problem. If that is so, then why are we still paying a levy?”
Mr Phelan said that beef farmers were getting sick of seeing every effort made to help dairy farmers while there is no recognition of the difficulties of the beef sector. “If a dairy farmer can’t afford a marketing levy, then it is clear that a beef farmer has even less ability to pay it,” he concluded.