In addition to the beef price index, the DAFM will provide additional price reports on the Beef Price Watch application and private customers will be invited to participate in the Market Requirements Task Force. The agreement commits to independently reviewing The Irish beef sector by the end of the year and increasing price transparency at all ends of the chain, from farmer to retailer. The discussions that took place over the weekend after a long period of protests outside the beef processing plants in Ireland were aimed at resolving disputes over prices paid to producers and retail prices. They covered the Meat Industry Ireland (MII) processor trading organisation, the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) and farmers` lobby groups, including Beef Plan Movement. The agreement includes a series of measures that will bring a “direct benefit” to beef producers, as well as a series of policy measures to address “structural imbalances” in the sector. A project negotiated in August with the beef program movement was rejected by some farmers. It remains to be seen how farmers will react to today`s agreement. Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said all parties to the dispute had approved the agreement that provides for higher prices for cattle producers and industry reform. Last night, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed wrote an open letter to farmers calling on them to study the agreement on the weekend beef negotiations.
Farmers have been protesting since July against the prices they receive for beef. Healy said an important part of the deal was the introduction of the new beef price index from next week. It is a two-shrub agreement to reform the beef sector in Ireland. The executive director of the national ploughing championships said that by sympathizing with cattle producers, the best place to reach an agreement was “around the table.” The other parties to the dispute were Meat Industry Ireland, the representative organization of the beef producer; Irish Farmers` Association (IFA); Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers` Association (ICMSA); Macra na Feirme; Beef Plan Movement and the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers` Association. Eamon Corley, president of the Beef Plan Movement – one of the groups representing farmers in the talks – confirmed TheJournal.ie that an agreement had been reached this afternoon after nearly 30 hours of talks. The agreement provides for an immediate increase in prices for farmers and a reform of the Irish beef sector. Other agreed conditions include a reduction in the residence requirement from 70 days to 60 days on the last farm and a new price index for the Bord Bia beef market covering livestock and market prices for beef in our main export markets and offal (see box). Confirming the details of the agreement, Creed said: “Beef producers will benefit from an immediate increase in a number of bonuses, including a 66% increase in the current special premium for beef and dyeing from 12% to 20% per kilo. In his speech on the first day of the national ploughing championships in Fenagh, Co Carlow, Higgins said the agreement may not have provided everything everyone wanted, but he said, “It`s an achievement in itself.”