Speaking following the latest Beef Roundtable, the President of ICMSA, Mr. John Comer, said that he was deeply concerned at the level of complacency in relation to the key issues of concern for farmers and in particular, despite a commitment to review the beef grid, there was no support to commence the review on an issue that ICMSA believes there is widespread support amongst farmers that it needs to be changed and simplified.
While beef and cattle prices are in a good place at present and this is hugely positive, as farmers, history has shown us that this will not last forever, and we should be addressing the key issues of concern now rather than when beef prices are under pressure. The supply situation and the exchange rate is very much in our favour at present, Mr. Comer said, but the reality is that this will not always be the case and the issues raised and agreed at last November’s Beef Roundtable remain as valid today and if we fail to address them, it will lead to further problems going forward. ICMSA is particularly disappointed that no significant progress has been made in relation to the many issues of importance to farmers and in particular the review of the beef grid and the over 30 month issue.
In relation to the beef grid, the commitment was simple and as follows “the QPS system will be reviewed, with the assistance of Teagasc, with a view, in particular, to providing a more simple and transparent system, before the middle of 2015”. Farmers are very clear of the view that the beef grid is way too complex for selling cattle and that it must be simplified. The commitment was simply to simplify the beef grid and make it more transparent for farmers and I am very disappointed that ICMSA got no support to progress this review, said Mr. Comer.
With increased numbers of cattle likely in 2016 and 2017, the beef grid and the other issues will again come centre stage given that we have failed to address them and it is regrettable that the Beef Forum has not progressed these matters at a time when the market is in a strong position, concluded Mr. Comer.
Ends 24 July 2015
John Comer, 087-2057846