The Irish Farmers’ Association has said the ABP meat processor group is no longer authorised to collect funds on behalf of IFA from the payments the company makes to farmers for livestock.
IFA president Joe Healy said: “ABP will not dictate how IFA represents farmers, or how farmers decide to support their association”.
He confirmed he wrote yesterday to Larry Goodman, instructing him to immediately suspend the collection of the levy for IFA.
ABP, which processes about 22% of Irish beef cattle, is part of the Goodman group. Up to recently, a levy of about €1.50 in every €1,000 was automatically deducted from meat processors’ payments to all farmers for livestock.
The IFA decision followed ABP Group’s announcement it would collect levies for farmer organisations on instruction only.
A second farm organisation, ICMSA confirmed yesterday the meat processor informed it on Tuesday it was ending automatic levy deduction.
However, Mr Healy said the levy was not discussed at an IFA meeting with ABP Ireland bosses on Tuesday.
ABP has been collecting an estimated €500,000 per year, including €1.80 per beef animal slaughtered. Most of the money, estimated at over 90%, goes to IFA with a smaller portion to ICMSA.
Other meat processors will quickly follow ABP’s example, or could risk losing some of their farmer suppliers to them. As a result, an estimated €4.7m of IFA’s annual funding could be threatened. This could force IFA and ICMSA to go directly to their members for funding, over and above membership fees.
ICMSA president John Comer said: “There are corporations out there who would be very happy to see farmer representative groups weakened through lack of funding.”
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