The Beef Market Taskforce, in its current format, is to be wound up, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has announced.

The announcement follows a recommendation from the taskforce chair Michael Dowling in his report, which said that the taskforce satisfied its remit.

“The beef taskforce has now satisfied its remit, with all the finite actions concluded and the ongoing actions enhanced during the period of the beef taskforce work,” the report, dated July 2021, said.

Minister McConalogue said he is satisfied with the group’s work in monitoring and progressing the implementation of the actions agreed by stakeholders in the beef sector agreement of 15 September 2019.

“In submitting the report, the beef taskforce chair also outlined his recommendations in relation to the future of stakeholder engagement in the sector.

“Mr Dowling advised that it is his view, and the shared view of the majority of the members of the taskforce, that the group has fulfilled its remit of monitoring the implementation of the actions under the 2019 beef sector agreement.

“For this reason, I have accepted the chair’s recommendation that the beef taskforce in its current format be wound up.”

New beef forum

Minister McConalogue went on to say that the chair did highlight the importance of the continuation of stakeholder engagement on ongoing strategic issues and recommended that the Minister establish a new forum to drive this.

“I absolutely agree with the chair’s additional recommendation that we need ongoing stakeholder engagement on the key strategic issues facing the sector, and I will be putting arrangements in place to establish a new strategic forum for the sector.

“Ensuring there is a long-term, sustainable and viable future for our suckler and beef farmers is a key priority of mine as Minister and I think the beef taskforce has played a key role. We must now build on that work over the time ahead.

“Through the new €150/cow Suckler Carbon Efficiency Scheme in the next CAP, as well as our work around a PGI [protected geographical indication] standard for Grass-Fed Irish Beef, there are reasons to look to the future of the sector with optimism. I truly believe in the sector and I will continue to support it and our farmers,” he said.

The Minister noted the three market transparency reports commissioned by the taskforce, the suckler brand development oversight group that was established, the beef pricewatch app and the review of the quality payment scheme (QPS).