Kepak Athleague has committed to a steady lamb price following talks with the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) on Thursday 4 July.
ICSA sheep chair Sean McNamara told the Irish Farmers Journal it was a robust meeting and although farmers had wanted more, they were happy enough that the factory would steady the price.
The talks come in the wake of a 27-hour farmer blockade of the factory that began on Sunday 30 June.
Protesters agreed to call off their action at 5pm on Monday after factory bosses agreed to meet with the ICSA over price.
“We didn’t get what we wanted, which was €5.20/kg, but the factory is afraid of us hitting them again, so they said they won’t pull the price,” McNamara said.
Another concession secured was a commitment by Kepak to provide every farmer with a quote before lambs were slaughtered.
McNamara said some farmers had been slaughtering lambs not knowing what price they would get for them.
He said the ICSA would be keeping an eye on the price and if it was pulled then protesters would be back at the factory gates again in greater numbers.
“We’ll come back with a hundred farmers if we need to. We won’t lie down and let the price be pulled and we’ll hit any plant that needs to be hit.
"We want to keep things steady and we don’t want to see any big changes in price.”
McNamara said he was happy enough that all factories held their quotes this week and the ICSA would wait a week or two to see how the situation developed.
In the meantime, it would be looking at what Northern Irish lambs were being slaughtered in the south.
“We’re meeting with Bord Bia to have a discussion on what way these lambs are being sold. Do they have the Quality Assurance or Origin Green label?
"We’re looking at all ends of the lamb trade from the factory to the retailer.”
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