A new producer group alliance has come together under the name NI Farm Groups to host a ‘beef crisis meeting’ in Northern Ireland.

NI Farm Groups is made up of Northern Ireland’s branches of the National Beef Association and Farmers For Action and is encouraging farmers in the region to support farmer protests in the Republic of Ireland.

The meeting will take place in the Glenavon House Hotel, Cookstown on Tuesday, October 1 at 8:00pm.

A spokesman for the two organisations explained that most farming families in Northern Ireland are well aware of the protests by farmers over what they perceive as the unfair trading practises of beef processors.

The spokesman explained similar practices are mimicked across the UK – in particular, the “relentless reduction” of prices being paid to farmers for their cattle.

“This amount of control has reached an unsustainable dominant peak where farmers share of the financial cake is no longer tenantable,” he said.

The large corporate food retailers and corporate food wholesalers have a lot to answer for, in that the financial pressure they exert on the processors is now extreme, which again tumbles down to the farmer.

“On top of this many of the corporate food retailers and corporate food wholesalers are increasingly being supplied with Polish and other beef from corporate processors and wholesalers – a position that they cannot vindicate whilst claiming how green they are becoming to their consumers.”

Irish Beef Protests

It comes as Irish farmers wind down their protests at meat plants. The protests began in late July after significant cuts were made to the base quotes offered by processors.

This time last year, farmers in the Republic of Ireland were fetching between €3.70 and €3.75/kg for bullocks and €3.80-3.85/kg for heifers. In comparison, this week the price is down as low as €3.45-3.50/kg for bullocks and €3.55-3.60/kg for heifers.

The Irish beef protests also hit out against other factors such as the 30-month age limit, four-movement rule and 70-day residential period.

“With many beef farmers on their knees financially and many others seeing no future, the time has come for Northern Ireland to play its part in supporting the efforts of family farmers and the farm organisations in the Republic of Ireland in their attempts to gain a level playing field for farming families,” the spokesman added.