Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) suckler committee chair Ger O’Brien has denounced plans for a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for Irish beef, saying: "We oppose the one size fits all application because it is too diluted and undermines the potential to get a premium price for specialist suckler beef production."

The ICSA has made a submission to the national opposition procedure for the application for a PGI status for Irish grass-fed beef by Bord Bia.

O’Brien added: “There needs to be a full consultation with farmer representatives to agree on a strategy for a PGI going forward before this application is progressed any further.”

Missed opportunity

The farm body warns that the potential to achieve a premium price for suckler beef is compromised by the application in its current format.

“This application represents a missed opportunity to build a brand around suckler beef. It offers the highest level of animal welfare and it is critical to the economies of disadvantaged areas,” O’Brien continued.

The ICSA has detailed the grounds of its opposition, which include:

  • The inclusion of dairy derived beef means that the PGI will be too diluted to achieve a premium price for suckler beef.
  • Insufficient consultation with the primary producer and lack of clarity on the ownership of the PGI.
  • The EU Commission suggests these designations typically return a premium of 30%. Bord Bia suggests it might be worth 5%.
  • The creation of a generic PGI for grass-fed beef will signal the end of any determined effort to brand suckler beef as a speciality product.
  • The exclusion of R- and U-grade young bulls further disadvantages the suckler sector.
  • Lack of explanation on colour requirements for the meat and fat.
  • Lack of detail around the concentrate feeding of animals.
  • No dedicated oversight process or board to manage the PGI in which the interests of farmers can be protected.
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