A number of groups that represent Northern Irish beef farmers will host a meeting focused on beef sector issues next month in Co. Tyrone – focused on the “elephant in the room” of farmgate prices.
The meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, October 1 at 8:00pm at the Glenavon Hotel in Cookstown, and has been organised by: the Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association; the National Beef Association; and Farmers for Action. These groups are operating under the umbrella group Northern Ireland Farm Groups (NIFG).
A spokesperson for NIFG said in a statement: “Most farming families are well aware of the protests against unfair trading practices of beef processors in southern Ireland, which are mimicked across the UK, and in particular the relentless reducing prices being paid to farmers for their cattle across these islands.”
The spokesperson suggested that concerns in the UK over Irish beef imports would be better directed towards Irish processors rather than Irish farmers.
However, the statement added: “In reality, Irish beef farmers north and south are easier to push down in price due to lack of competition in the processing sector by the out-of-control handful of massive corporate Irish abattoirs’ single-minded presence.”
The statement from the Northern Irish group raised concerns over the influence that some Irish processors have in the UK market.
NIFG has agreed that few could argue with the spec changes to be implemented in southern Ireland, the vast majority of which should be implemented in Northern Ireland where applicable.
“However, the elephant in the room for all beef farmers across these islands still remains farmgate beef prices,” the statement added.
NIFG has said that the outcome of protests here will be monitored and discussed on the night.
The meeting will be chaired by well-known agriculture journalist Richard Halleron.