Farmers Threaten to Withdraw from Quality Assurance Scheme

ICSA members are threatening to withdraw their support of the Quality Assurance Scheme, which it says is being abused by meat processors and retailers.

ICSA President, Patrick Kent.

ICSA President, Patrick Kent.

ICSA president Patrick Kent said meat processors and retailers want farmers to do all the work while they take all the profit. He highlighted the need for a quality assured bonus for all cattle coming from a quality assured farm.

Mr Kent also called for an end to the undermining of the mart trade with artificial rules on residency and the number of movements.

“Farmers cannot continue to support a scheme indefinitely where only one in four cattle gets a quality assurance bonus even though 87% of animals slaughtered are coming from quality assured farms,” said Mr Kent.

“ICSA is launching an ultimatum to processors and retailers: Deal with the issues raised by farmers, or farmers will have no option but to boycott quality assurance.”

The ICSA president also called for the removal of proposed weight limits of 380kg for quality continental suckler herd bulls; to be replaced with a strategy for viable prices up to 450kg for this stock.

ICSA also wants an end to dual pricing whereby the base price is no longer available to certain categories of animals and some prime animals are getting prices below cow price.

Mr Kent said ICSA understands these issues will take time to solve and for that reason, it will hold off until November 1 before calling on all farmers, farm organisations, and marts to withdraw co-operation with the Quality Assurance Scheme.

“We understand that this is a drastic move but ICSA cannot stand idly by when we see that cattle farmers are at the edge of despair on income. Why should farmers co-operate with a scheme when we get none of the benefits from it?” he asked.

“The Teagasc open day at Grange brought clarity to the issue, showing that the most efficient suckler farmers with 70 cows on 100 acres could only earn €4,000 in return for many unsociable hours calving cows and looking after stock.”

ICSA also wants an immediate stabilisation of beef prices, followed by price increases as market demand improves; and a resolution to the problem of exporting stores to Northern Ireland.

“Farmers have to keep each animal for two to three years, while factories and retailers only deal with them for two to three days, and yet farmers are expected to jump through hoops for quality assurance and watch processors and retailers get rich while farmers eat into their capital to prop up the beef sector.

“To add to the insult, supermarkets boast to their customers about how all their beef is quality assured but they’re not so keen to tell the full story of how farmers are being exploited. This has got to stop,” he warned.

(Source – Irish Examiner – Joe Dermody – Tuesday, 15/07/2014)

The ICSA has called for:

 

1. A QA bonus for all cattle coming from QA farms;

2. An end to the undermining of the mart trade with artificial rules on residency and number of movements;

3. The removal of proposed weight limits of 380kg for quality continental suckler herd bulls to be replaced with a strategy for viable prices up to 450kg for this stock;

4. An end to dual pricing whereby the base price is no longer available to certain categories of animals and some prime animals are getting prices below cow prices;

5. Immediate stabilisation of beef prices, followed by price increases as market demand improves;

6. A resolution to the problem of exporting stores to Northern Ireland.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Rural Enterprise Skillnet
Rural Enterprise Skillnet

The Rural Enterprise Skillnet is funded by member companies and the Training Networks Programme, an initiative of Skillnets Ltd. funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills.

Read More