Farmers are exiting suckler production and beef cattle finishing in unprecedented numbers, according to the Beef Plan Movement.
As it continues its nationwide meetings where farmers discuss how to return to profitable beef production, the Beef Plan Movement has briefed the 19,000 farmers it represents on the demands they should pass onto candidates in the local authority and European Parliament elections on May 24.
“Farmers will have to ask their local politicians some very hard questions before giving their vote to anyone, “ said a Beef Plan spokesperson.
The doorstep message from Beef Plan members to candidates includes that the Quality Payment System is no longer fit for purpose, and needs urgent review, specifically of the farm residency four-movement rule; the farm residency 70-day retention rule for the quality bonus; and the 30 months for steers and heifers and 16 months for bulls age limits.
Political candidates will also be asked how they can help cattle farmers by changing rules on labelling of Irish beef in the UK; the 125km radius haulage distance limit for bovine knackery material going to a rendering plant; processor ownership of owned or controlled feedlots; and processor access to farmer data.
Beef Plan members are also raising the lack of payment to the farmer for the fifth quarter (offal), estimated to be worth €200 to processors.
A Beef Plan movement spokesperson said urgent action is also needed on excessive animal trim and grading machine errors which members have seen in beef factories.