Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has announced that an agreement has been reached between farm organisations and factory representatives Meat Industry Ireland (MII).

Talks between all parties lasted over 24 hours in an effort to bring independent farm protests to an end.

The agreement is dependent on farmers ceasing all protest activity outside factory gates and factories dropping all legal charges against farmers for previous protesting activity.

It’s very important that people get off the picket lines

“The deal was difficult to get through and we’ve to sell it to the people at the factory gates,” Alison De Vere Hunt of the Independent Farmers of Ireland group told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“I feel when farmers look at this deal they will see there are good measures in it. The 70-day residency minimum is now down to 60 and the four-movement rule is to be reviewed and so is the fifth quarter.

“For everybody’s sake it’s very important that people get off the picket lines.”

A Government source confirmed that the Independent Farmers of Ireland agreed during negotiations to recommend the deal to farmers who might still be protesting at factory gates.

A two-strand agreement was decided between negotiating parties.

Strand one

Strand one includes decisions that were previously reached in talks carried out in Backweston on 21 August.

But new agreed-upon bonus payments will increase immediately for farmers.

These include:

  • An increase of 66% in the current in-spec bonus for steers and heifers from 12c/kg to 20c/kg.
  • The introduction of a new bonus of 8c/kg for steers and heifers aged between 30 to 36 months which meet all non-age-related existing in-spec criteria and which up to now have not received any bonus.
  • The introduction of a new in-spec bonus of 12c/kg for steers and heifers under 30 months in the categories of grade O- and fat score 4+ , which currently do not qualify for any bonus.
  • An independent beef market task force will also be established.

    “A number of actions in the area of market transparency, beef promotion and strengthening the position of the farmer in the supply chain were agreed upon,” the minister said.

    Strand two

    Strand two focuses on strategic structural reform and includes the immediate commissioning of a number of reports to be be completed and published before the end of the year.

    These reports include:

  • An independent review of market and customer requirements, specifically in relation to the four in-spec bonus criteria currently in operation in the Irish beef sector.
  • An independent examination of the price composition of the total value of the animal, including the fifth quarter, along the supply chain. The results will inform future actions as necessary. The beef industry will co-operate in providing data.
  • A summary of competition law issues as relevant to the Irish beef sector.
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