Beef schemes 'are an insult', says new group
Beef Plan group holds its first meeting as membership soars
Around 1,000 new members a week are joining the new Beef Plan 2018-2025 Group, founding member Eamon Corley has told the Farming Independent.
Some 540 farmers attended the group's first meeting in Roscommon Mart last Wednesday where many farmers voiced their concerns over the BDGP and new BEEP schemes.
"Farmers felt the BDGP was an insult to them. Breed societies are against it and we did a show of hands of the 540 farmers in the room asking, did they support the scheme, and not one hand went up," Mr Corley said.
"The BEEP scheme is also an insult. One farmer made a point that an AI service on a suckler cow costs €35 and scanning costs €5 so it doesn't pay the farmer. Under that scheme they also have to be weighed twice which means factories would get data on the animal and only use it against the farmer later on."
Mr Corley said the group would consider the suggestion of a small shop owner from Castlerea who said at the meeting that the group should go to the five main supermarkets and ask them if they were willing to pay them the cost of production plus a margin, which is one of the demands set out in group's 86-point plan.
"If one steps forward, we will spread the word and follow this supermarket. This could have a real influence and will help farmers get paid for the work that they do.
"Retailers spend €5m a week on advertising, if the consumer knew that the farmer wasn't getting a fair return, they wouldn't be happy," Mr Corley said.
However, since 90pc of Irish beef is exported, the impact of such a measure could be minimal.