UFU and IFA meet to tackle beef issues

Thursday, 13 March, 2014


This week the Ulster Farmers’ Union met with representatives of the Irish Farmers’ Association to discuss pressing issues affecting the beef sector on both sides of the border, with both delegations voicing strong opposition to the recent cuts in beef prices and sudden changes to specification.


UFU President Harry Sinclair said, “Confidence in the beef sector is being seriously and detrimentally eroded at the moment as a result of recent price cuts and abrupt changes to specification.  These actions have put finishers under significant financial pressure at a time of year when finishing is at its most expensive and are causing outrage amongst farmers on the ground in both jurisdictions. 


“The downward pressure on prices is difficult enough without the goal posts on specification changing as well.  The proposed deductions for any animals deemed ‘out of spec’ are simply untenable and show a complete lack of regard from our supply chain partners, particularly in relation to understanding the nature of our farming systems.  Beef production on the island of Ireland is predominantly grass based within the context of a smaller family farming structure and thus cattle have to move from breeding to weaning to fattening farms through the likes of livestock markets, which are an important facility and crucial for ensuring competition within the market.  There has been no consideration of these factors in the context of the recently proposed deductions on cattle not meeting the maximum four farm residency requirement or final residency period, which must be adjusted to accommodate the sale of finished cattle through the marts.

“The UFU will be calling on our Minister to ensure anti-competitive practices are not allowed to be put in place which would disadvantage our livestock markets and beef trade generally.  Furthermore we would ask that NIMEA work together with the Union and their producers to achieve a more realistic outcome in terms of the specification imposed by retailers.”


The Ulster Farmers’ Union met with representatives of the Irish Farmers’ Association to discuss pressing issues affecting the beef sector on both sides of the border. Pictured L-R is UFU Chief Executive Clarke Black; UFU Deputy President Ian Marshall; IFA President Eddie Downey; UFU President Harry Sinclair; IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns and IFA Director Pat Smith.