The beef grid is not the property of the Department of Agriculture and it is not for the Department to “tear up” and say it will change it, the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said.
Minister Creed was responding to a statement from Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson Martin Kenny in the Dáil on Thursday, who said that a carcase grading review has been promised for a long time.
“Most farmers who send their cattle to factories say they do not know what kind of price they will receive and they are dubious of how the grading system works, which we all understand,” Kenny said.
In response, the Minister said: “As I have stated on numerous occasions, the grid is not the property of the Department. It is not for us to tear up and say we will change it.”
Kenny replied that “if it is being abused, the Minister has an obligation to do something”.
At this point, the Minister said that he does not have a role in interfering in the market between suppliers and processors under law.
“The operation of the grid is an issue for farmers and processors. We have previously assisted in the development of the grid and if we are asked, we will assist in its review.
“It must nonetheless remain an issue between both parties,” he said.
Review of the grid
At the Irish Farmers Journal Beef Summit on Thursday night, senior director with Meat Industry Ireland Cormac Healy said that the beef grid brought greater differential into the pricing structure.
"However, when we look across the EU, differentials have moved on and maybe we need to do so too. We need to explore are changes possible," he said.