Responding to reports that meat plants are considering reviewing the beef grid, the President of ICMSA, Pat McCormack, said that Meat Industry Ireland needs to clarify what exactly is happening in relation to the grid and incorporate research and other views into any proposed reform or review.
“Like all farmers, I’ve seen the reports hinting that the long-awaited review might actually be coming forward. But ICMSA rejects the idea that the factories themselves can, as it were, ‘review their own prices’ and we think that three aspects, at least. Have to be incorporated: firstly, all beef producers must be made aware of what is being considered, secondly, there must be full consultation on any changes being considered and, thirdly and most importantly, MII will have to provide the market and scientific basis for any changes. The reality is that the marketplace has changed substantially since the grid was introduced and the current EUROP grid is probably not reflective of market requirements today. The last grid was introduced effectively without notice or consultation with farmers, it was over-complex and designed to disadvantage farmers and this can’t happen again if it’s reviewed – as it should”, said Mr. McCormack.
The ICMSA President said that the meat plants appear to be focused only on increasing price differentials with the likely result that more animals will be penalised to give additional bonuses to a smaller number of animals. He said that ICMSA would “vigorously” question the market and the sustainability basis of such a decision. “ICMSA’s firm view is that any review of the beef grid must involve simplification, a reduction in the number of categories, the payment of the Quality Assured Bonus on all cattle coming from QA herds and a grid structure that reflects Irish beef production today and market requirements Since its introduction the present grid has undermined farmer confidence in the beef sector and changes need to be made, but they need to be carefully considered and not tweaks that effectively compound already existing defects – like this idea that the differentials need to be widened which is exactly the opposite of what needs to be done”, concluded the ICMSA President.
Ends 9 November 2018
Pat McCormack, 087-7608958
ICMSA Press Office