As previously reported by the Irish Farmers Journal, each PO will be eligible to up to €3,000 worth of services from advisors funded under the Rural Development Programme. The Government has set aside €300,000 for the scheme, covering up to 100 POs who can legally negotiate beef prices on behalf of their members with factories.

Tender documents are expected to be published on in the coming week.

The advisors will assist the groups in drafting their statutes and registering with the authorities under new EU rules applicable in Ireland since last year. This includes ensuring POs comply with obligations such as the minimum membership of 20 active beef farmers and submitting applications for recognition from both the Companies Registration Office and the Department of Agriculture.

Advisory services will also cover POs’ business and beef production planning.

’A step into the unknown’

While Minister Creed described POs as a way of strengthening farmers’ position in the supply chain, he added that advisory services were necessary as the new groups were “a step into the unknown”.

“The recognition of a PO by my Department allows them to negotiate collectively on behalf of their members with processors for the price they receive for animals they supply for slaughter,” he said. “This is a very important step in allowing primary producers to be more than mere price takers but instead to proactively engage with processors in negotiating the supply and sale price of their cattle.”

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