ICSA in crisis as QPS row deepens
Council and beef committee meet to iron out grid differences
A serious rift has developed within the ICSA between the association's national council and its national beef committee.
The dispute centres on the quality payment system (QPS) for cattle. The organisation supported the QPS initially, but the national beef committee has rejected that stance and recently called for the payment system to be abandoned completely.
Four leading members of the beef committee have been threatened with disciplinary action, allegedly over their outspoken opposition to the QPS.
However, all four are refusing to alter their stance on the grid. It is understood that a critical meeting between the two sides is scheduled for this evening.
Beef committee chairman Peter Fox confirmed that the rejection of the QPS in its present form was again endorsed at a recent beef committee meeting at which there was an almost full representation of county delegates.
"We are not happy with the grid and that is the view of the committee. There was only one dissenting voice, but we are being overruled by the national council, where a majority of the members are not beef finishers," Mr Fox said.
Insisting that beef suppliers to the factories are worse off under the QPS, he repeated the call for an immediate suspension of the grid in its current form, stating that producers' concerns over the reliability of the automated mecha- nical grading machines had increased farmer opposition to the payment system.
"In my view, no farm organisation can remain credible by continuing to give support to the QPS grid, which is built on a grading system the accuracy of which is in question," the Ballymahon beef producer said.