Sunday, 15.45

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has announced that an agreement has been reached between farm organisations and factory representatives Meat Industry Ireland (MII).

Talks between all parties lasted over 24 hours in an effort to bring independent farm protests to an end.

The agreement is dependent on farmers ceasing all protest activity outside factory gates and factories dropping all legal charges against farmers for previous protesting activity.

Sunday, 15.41

As talks continue, the Irish Farmers Journal understands that agreement has been reached on 8c/kg for cattle processed between 30 and 36 months. Currently there is no bonus in place for these cattle.

Sunday, 14.12

The farm organisations want to avoid any lowering of base price cancelling out higher bonuses. Therefore, the proposal document spells out new transparency measures which would better quantify returns from markets.

Bord Bia's Joe Burke outlined how a new beef price index would track cattle prices in key export markets. It would also track prices for relevant beef cuts, eg mince or steaks, on a weekly or monthly basis in retail shops in key markets.

Sunday, 13.55

The new bonus on cattle slaughtered at 30 to 36 months would be paid for in-spec. That is from QA farms and subject to a maximum of four movements and minimum residency on last farm.

Sunday, 13.45

The talks at the Department of Agriculture are resuming after a break for coffee and food.

A proposal document is on the table with higher in-spec bonuses. But there's a gap between what the factories are offering and what the farm organisations are demanding.

The factories have tabled an increase in the QA bonus for under 30-month animals from 12c to 16c/kg. However, the farm organisations are demanding 20c/kg.

The factories have offered a new bonus of 6c/kg for in-spec cattle aged over 30 months and under 36 months. The farm organisations insist this should be increased to 12c/kg. Some participants are warning this is a gulf that can't be bridged.

Sunday, 12.29

Negotiations are at a delicate stage between all parties. Part of the farm organisation proposal put to the factories is believed to include an increase to the current in-spec Quality Assured (QA) bonus for cattle processed under 30 months. The current bonus is 12c/kg.

It's understood farm organisations are also seeking the introduction of a bonus for cattle from QA farms processed between 30 and 36 months.

Sunday, 11.27

The expectation now is that Minister Creed and Department of Agriculture general secretary Brendan Gleeson will discuss the changes sought by the farm organisations with the meat processor chief executives. The farm organisations have today shown more unity in their negotiations than in previous talks.

Sunday, 11.15

Farm organisations have concluded a short meeting with Minister Creed and Brendan Gleeson. They sought a number of changes to the proposal document.

Farm leaders are now going out for coffee and breakfast. On the way out of Department of Agriculture buildings, the farm leaders were cautiously hopeful that a deal can be reached.

"The ball is in the factories' court now," said IFA president Joe Healy.

Meat factory bosses also left the building and went for food - in a different direction.

Sunday, 11.05

The meeting of farm organisations to analyse and discuss the proposal document is now over. The seven organisations are, in the words of one of those involved, "sticking together". They have now begun a meeting with Minister Creed and his team and are seeking some further changes to the document.

The minister had told the document previously discussed was was the final offer. This all means the discussions will go on through Sunday morning. All seven farm organisations are still involved in the talks.

Sunday, 10.40

The newest farm organisation representing protesting farmers, Independent Farmers of Ireland, has expressed dismay at ongoing talks to reach a resolution.

"Three spokespeople have been in the Department of Agriculture since 11.30pm last night with all the other farm organisations," the group said.

"A series of bilaterals took place between all the individuals and the minister with his team.

"MII participated in these bilaterals too. This morning a deal was presented that not one of the seven organisations were happy with and so they all came together for the first time and discussed where improvements needed to be made."

Prepared to walk away

"As a whole, they are about to engage in round table talks with the minister and his team. We are hopeful that progress can be made. The representatives have not left Agriculture House since last night and do not intend to leave until a suitable deal is presented.

"However, they are prepared to walk away if there is no movement and they believe the deal is not acceptable."

Sunday, 10.05

Talks between all farm organisations over the document put forward after overnight talks have passed the hour mark.

Given the number of farm organisations in the room, it's understood that agreement between all parties may be hard to reach despite the efforts of the minister and his team.

It is also understood that the Independent Farmers of Ireland group has been resistant to any form of compromise and this has added to the length of talks.

Sunday, 08.58

After almost 24 hours of talks, a meeting of all farm organisations chaired by IFA president Joe Healy is taking place. Up for discussion is the document drawn up overnight which is believed to contain a number of compromised proposals hoped to be acceptable to all farm organisations.

The meeting includes all farm organisations, including Beef Plan Movement and the Independent Farmers of Ireland, and is taking place in Agriculture House.

Sunday, 07.20

A final push is being made by Minister Michael Creed to get agreement on the document that's been discussed overnight. Farm organisations are understood to be reviewing it. A number of rumours are circulating about how many farm organisations have already rejected the proposal.

Sunday, 05.38

The Beef Plan Movement has confirmed that it proposed a counter offer in response to Meat Industry Ireland's proposal. Currently the proposal is to introduce a reduced in-spec bonus for cattle slaughtered between 30 and 36 months.

Sunday, 05.13

Having talked to the farm organisations for a third time since Saturday morning, Minister Creed is now in face-to-face negotiations with factory representatives.

They include the chief executives Niall Browne of Dawn Meats, John Horgan of Kepak, Francis Mallon of Liffey Meats, as well as Cormac Healy from the factory representative group Meat Industry Ireland.

Sunday, 04.50

It is understood that at least one farm organisation has rejected the MII proposal of a reduced bonus on cattle over 30 months. Negotiations are on a "knife edge" and the organisation is requesting more concessions from MII.

Sunday, 04.15

After walking around Dublin city centre for an hour to get some air and coffee, all farm groups have now gone back into the Department of Agriculture for another round of one-to-one talks.

No one expects a round-table meeting to take place this morning.

Sunday, 03.09

As talks continue, individuals are reportedly weary and the mood is low. It's understood that the Meat Industry Ireland (MII) proposal of a reduced in-spec bonus for older cattle between 30 and 36 months has not been met positively by some people across various farm organisations. Currently there is no Quality Assured (QA) bonus for cattle over 30 months.

Sunday, 01.56

A number of sources suggest the proposal being put before farm organisations includes offering a smaller in-spec bonus for cattle slaughtered over 30 months.

The current full in-spec bonus is worth 12c/kg to farmers for cattle that meet all specifications.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that a smaller in-spec bonus could be on offer for cattle slaughtered between 30 and 36 months.

Sunday, 01.32

It is understood that some organisations are still waiting in Agriculture House to be briefed on the proposal by the minister and his team.

Sunday, 00.35

Farm organisations are still doing one-to-one meetings with Minister Michael Creed and his team, including general secretary Brendan Gleeson. A Government source has said that there's "a long way to go". It is expected to be a long night for all involved in negotiations.

Sunday, 00.04

The IFA and ICSA are understood to have heard the proposal. Both organisations now have to decide if they agree with the terms, which are yet unknown publicly.

Saturday, 23.25

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that a proposal is being put to each farm organisation individually in Agriculture House tonight. It’s hoped that the proposal will be acceptable to farm organisations and break the deadlock that has seen ongoing protests outside beef factories.

Round-table talks were due to take place earlier on Saturday between Meat Industry Ireland (MII) and farm organisations, including the Beef Plan Movement and the new Independent Farmers of Ireland group.

However, round-table talks have failed to materialise and it’s not yet known if the proposal put to farm organisations will be accepted.

Saturday, 21.00

Bord Bia has said it is aware that more Irish beef could be sent to the UK for processing, as some supermarkets continue to be hit by beef shortages due to protests.

Under current Bord Bia rules, beef that has been born, reared, slaughtered and processed in Ireland can be sent to the UK for further processing and return bearing a Bord Bia Quality Assured logo on it.

Some within the industry have taken this as a signal that Bord Bia does not expect a positive result from talks in Agriculture House.

Stay tuned to the Irish Farmers Journal for continued updates.

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