Tipperary farming: progress at Beef Taskforce is welcomed
Progress at the Beef Taskforce which went on late into the night last Thursday, has been welcomed by ICSA president Edmond Phelan.
“While ICSA would have preferred an exclusively suckler based PGI, the development of a suckler premium brand is now a real possibility with the backing of €6m State funding and agreement that it would be overseen by a majority farmer representative committee.,” he said.
Mr Phelan said that the agreement, after weeks of protracted negotiations, meant that the Irish application for grass fed beef PGI will be amended to allow suckler bull beef qualify and that the PGI will also be overseen by a majority farmer representative committee.
“So there is now going to be two separate initiatives to improve the market image of Irish beef, one being the grass-fed PGI and the other is the new suckler brand. Each will be monitored by farmer controlled committees, which we hope can keep the emphasis on the primary producer,” he said.
Mr Phelan said, however, this was only a start.
“ICSA fought very hard to ensure that the PGI committee can control the use of the PGI logo so that if it doesn’t deliver for farmers, it will have to be brought back to the drawing board. In particular, we insisted that the monitoring committee would have power to tackle abuses of the PGI and ensure that the added value is returned fairly to the farmer,” he said.
In particular, ICSA had been at pains to point out that farmers needed to be in control of initiatives that were meant to benefit the primary producer.
“ICSA had also argued that the level of funding for the suckler brand would indicate whether we were serious or not,” he said.