Bord Bia's plan for a grass-fed beef brand is a "very broad church" and needs more imagination, according to the new Junior Minister at the Department of Agriculture, Pippa Hackett.
Speaking to the Farming Independent after her appointment at the weekend, she said she would like to see "more imagination" around the proposal and suggested consumers would need more than just a 'grass-fed' offering.
"The Bord Bia grass-fed proposal seems a broad church. I'd want to see more as a consumer," she said.
The latest critic of the proposal, Ms Hackett added that she doesn't think the strategy differentiates Irish beef enough and that a Protected Geographical Indicator (PGI) should look at a region, not the whole country. "We need to connect more with biodiversity. If it was beef from a biodiversity farm, that would mean more. I like the idea but it could work better if it was connected with some environmental aspect.
"It remains unclear how much beef would qualify for the scheme, whether a large majority will, which might dilute the value of such a scheme."
She also said it was also unclear what consumers the brand would be aimed at.
Hackett has previously said that Origin Green is painting a "false image" to the world.
"We're doing ourselves an injustice. I think through Origin Green, we are painting a false image to the world that we are organic and it will come back to bite us," she said.
Hackett farms with her husband in Offaly and said she would like to see the focus on beef to change.
"I see a value in suckler farming. It can offer something unique to our country and helps keep biodiversity and needs to be protected," she said.
Her appointment as a 'super junior' minister, she said, is a bold statement and reflects the Green Party's ambition to work across the whole spectrum of agriculture.
She also said that the gap between farmers and environmentalist has to be bridged and was a legacy of a historic lack of understanding on both sides.
"We have had a long period of listening to extremes on both sides, farmer versus environmentalists, and I've tried to bridge that gap," she said.
"It is getting bridged but there is still some lack of understanding between both sides. If we are to move forward we have to do so as a more united grouping and if we can embrace that I think we are on the right road."
On the dairy side, she said while most dairy farmers using derogations are happy to do so, she claimed that a number of new entrants are working without them as they don't want to be "hamstrung" later.
"It would be self-limiting and I think farmers should think about it, when planning," she said.
"It's not impossible to live without a derogation. There are farmers doing well without it, so it can be done."
Ms Hackett said any geographic imbalance in the cabinet will not be reflected in policy decisions.
"If we have good people in cabinet they should be making the best decision for all areas and I'd like to think all ministers are like that." she said.
Will Bord Bia's grass-fed campaign prove a lifeline for the beef sector? Read more, pages 6 & 7
New role: Senator Pippa Hackett of the Greens is the new Junior Minister at the Department of Agriculture and will have responsibility for land use and biodiversity