Independent Farmers of Ireland protest at Bord Bia against 'anti-farmer requirements'
Independent Farmers of Ireland staged a protest outside Bord Bia headquarters in Dublin this morning as they claim that the agency is “anti-farmer” and that the requirements it places on farmers are "unfair".
Spokesperson for the collection of farmers Tom Egan who is a drystock farmer in Birr, Co Offaly told the Farming Independent that the farmers are demanding a removal of 30 month age limits, the 70 day residency requirement and the four movement rule.
“Impositions on farmers such as age limits and four movements, the weight limits, are all impositions on farmers that take money out of farmers’ pockets and they are being taken advantage of. It has to be stamped out. They are anti-farmer.” he said.
“There’s a rep from ICMSA and IFA on the board of Bord bia, I’d like to know what they are doing. Why weren’t they addressing the issues where there would be a fair reward to farmers? Farmers are going broke everywhere and they’re losing a fortune on cattle.”
Mr Egan also stated that Independent Farmers want Bord Bia’s Quality Assurance Scheme to only apply to good welfare on farms and not movement restrictions. He also questioned how beef imported from the UK was allowed to be given a Bord Bia QA logo but Irish farmers had to “jump through hoops” to get Bord Bia assured.
Mr Egan added that he was “selling cattle at a loss this year and it was a pathetic situation”.
“I’d leave sheds empty now before I’d fill them, there’s not a bank in the country lending money to beef farmers at the moment unless they have an off farm income or a huge single farm entitlement.”
The farmer explained that Independent Farmers is a “free and independent group of farmers that are supporting farmers voluntarily compared to organisations who have millions at their disposal.”
Meanwhile, protester Liam Minehan who is a beef and dairy farmer in Nenagh, Co Tipperary said that he had decided to protest as he wants “a better future for rural Ireland.”
“If I want to sell a premium product I have to sell under 30 months. This is being used as a tool to undermine my product,” he said.
“These seem to be one of the groups that are focusing on traditional grass farmers and rural Ireland and keeping people in the villages and farming. If we want to keep people in our national schools we have to support them.”
In a statement issued to the Farming Independent Bord Bia said "It is with disappointment and frustration that Bord Bia responds to the disruption to the work of staff at our office in Dublin today.
"It is a simple fact that Bord Bia have no role in setting the requirements of the Quality Payment System (QPS). The QPS is a meat processor bonus scheme rewarding farmers who produce to their specification. Bord Bia is not responsible for the meat plant bonus and have no influence on setting the criteria for the bonus.
"Bord Bia quality assurance status is only one element of several criteria set by each processing plant. Requirements for the ‘in-spec’ bonus around age, weight, grade, fat conformation, movements and 60 days residency on the final farm are set by meat factories and are outside of Bord Bia’s control.
"Furthermore, Bord Bia have no role in setting prices or in selling Irish beef."
It added that "it is misleading and untrue to state that non-Irish beef could carry the Origin Ireland logo".
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