The inaugural public meeting of a voluntary group of beef farmers was held last night in Roscommon Mart. The group, known as Beef Plan 2018-2025, set out its stall in front of a large group of local farmers, with numbers attending estimated to be between 550 and 600.
All farmers attending were asked to fill out their contact details on a registration form and contribute a €10 membership fee.
We have to have the balls and stand together when the text goes out not to send cattle
Eamon Corley, a founding member of the group, said the main aim was to get 40,000 farmers to “act as one”. He said a core long-term plan is to set up a producer group in each county.
“All the producer groups can be linked up. We have to make it happen ourselves. It’s the only way it will happen,” Corley stated.
“The retail price has increased steadily over the years, but we are being squeezed all the time and destined to fail,” he added.
As part of phase one, the committee plans to mobilise members to disrupt cattle supply at short notice using text message alerts.
“You could get a text message at six in the morning asking you not to kill cattle,” a committee member said.
The idea behind the short notice is to take factories by surprise and reduce the chance of alternative arrangements being made, the committee explained.
Committee member Michael McNally said: “We are going to cause disruption, we are going to be in a fight. If we don’t do this now, our livelihoods are finished."
McNally insisted that farmers should reject the new BEEP scheme, saying: “Let the lads carrying clipboards put the calves up the crush."
McNally also believes Teagasc has a role to play. “They know how hard it is to make money from suckler farming. They need to get off the fence and speak up,” he told the Irish Farmers Journal.
Elphin Mart manager Gerry Connellan also spoke on the night. “They started with the 30-month rule and next it was the number of movements. It’s all designed to bring down the price of beef,” he claimed.
“The IFA and the ICSA haven’t done enough for us,” he stated.
Work as one
Committee member Hugh Doyle said: “If you are to bring anything home from this meeting, it is to realise there is power in numbers, but we have to be prepared to work as one.”
Outspoken west of Ireland TD Michael Fitzmaurice was in attendance. Before the meeting concluded, he said: “We have to have the balls and stand together when the text goes out not to send cattle.”
The meeting in Roscommon was the first of a series of meetings planned around the country. The next meeting takes place at the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris, on 14 November at 8.30pm. More details of the group’s plans can be found at https://www.beefplan.ie.
Beef plan movement to go its own way