Fate of price grid hangs in balance
Growing farmer anger threatening to derail QPS initiative
The quality payment system (QPS) for cattle was hanging in the balance this week as growing farmer anger threatened to scupper the initiative.
There is mounting pressure on the IFA to back away from supporting the payment system, which the association agreed with the factories before Christmas.
IFA president John Bryan has been called on to have the scheme "scrapped immediately" and there was strident criticism of the manner in which the payment mechanism was agreed and implemented at a number of recent farmer meetings.
The QPS was rejected by farmers at meetings in Limerick, Laois and Mayo over the past week.
However, one leading factory boss warned farmers that it would be impossible to agree another payment mechanism if the QPS was abandoned.
Paul Nolan, of Dawn Meats, repeated the factory position that the QPS was designed to reward quality and provide signals for beef producers based on the type of animal that was required by consumers and retailers.
Speaking at an ICMSA meeting in Abbeyleix, Co Laois, on Sunday, he said getting all parties in the beef sector to agree an alternative payment system could not be guaranteed.
"If we lose this opportunity then we will not get another one for some time," Mr Nolan maintained.