Beef farmers seek more leeway on audit failures
Top farmers who are 'poster boys' for supermarkets are failing Bord Bia quality assurance audits for "trivial" reasons, warned the ICSA.
A long-awaited review of the schemes for lamb, beef and dairy is ongoing as the farm bodies call for farmers to be given time to address minor issues rather than be excluded from the scheme for three months in most cases.
"This scenario, where today you are quality assured, tomorrow you are not, is not acceptable," ICSA general secretary Eddie Punch told farmers gathered at an ICSA sheep seminar in Teagasc's Mountbellew college.
"You know the farcical thing about it is we have seen scenarios where farmers who would be poster boys for supermarkets failing over something trivial in Bord Bia inspections. That can't be right."
Bord Bia figures show there are 45,723 certified beef farmers, 11,993 lamb and 10,532 certified dairy farmers, with over 14,100 applications received for the latest dairy scheme.
With 35,000 audits carried out last year, Bord Bia confirmed the failure rate was 7pc, with record keeping the most common reason.
"The same standard applies to all members of the scheme," a spokesperson for Bord Bia said.
Under the dairy scheme, farmers are given time, or a 'close out' period of one month, to address a non-compliance issue. This is currently also being considered for the new revised beef scheme.