Tougher quality assurance audits at the same time as factories are penalising on weight has led to farmer anger being directed at Bord Bia this week.
IFA livestock chair Henry Burns said he will not sign off on a new assurance scheme – currently being negotiated with Bord Bia – without simplification and a more farmer-friendly approach.
The more than 50,000 cattle and sheep farmers in the scheme are subject to regular audit. But the Irish Farmers Journal understands that the failure rate among cattle farmers has risen to 7%.
“Problems around audits under the current scheme must be addressed,” Burns said. “There must be a close-out system allowing farmers to correct issues without being expelled for six months, as currently is the case.”
He said: “There is a growing view among farmers that Bord Bia is too much on the side of factories – who are undermining the Quality Assurance scheme with severe weight penalties.
Farmers are very angry when their factory return shows a 12c/kg bonus for QA and then a 10c or 20c/kg weight penalty on their best-performing animals.”
IFA is committed to a worthwhile Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme but it must work for farmers, too, he said.