Fine Gael TD, Martin Heydon, has today (Thursday), welcomed the news that farmers and processors have reached an agreement on the beef issue. An agreement was reached in the early hours of this morning at the beef forum chaired by Minister for Agriculture and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD.

“This has been an extremely difficult time for beef farmers and I welcome the news that an agreement has been reached. After nine hours of intense negotiation at the Beef Roundtable, Minister Coveney secured the agreement of all stakeholders to a comprehensive list of actions that will address the concerns that have been raised by beef farmers.

“There will be no price penalties based on weight up to 31st December 2015, no dual base pricing for breed, age or weight and processors are to provide a price incentive for all steers and heifers from Quality Assured farms from 1st January 2015.

“A commitment was made to review the current Quality Payment System (QPS) by the middle of 2015 and measures around price transparency have also been introduced.

“This is not the end of negotiations on the beef issue. The Beef Roundtable will continue to oversee the implementation of the agreement and provide a forum for clarifying any issue that may arise. Communication has been key throughout this whole process and if anything, I believe these open lines of communication are among the most significant outcomes of this process.

“The beef forum cannot direct the processors on pricing as was confirmed to the Minister in correspondence from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission but it can, and it has, created conditions and introduced measures which will positively impact on pricing. The agreement reached by farmers and stakeholders this morning will be constantly monitored to see how they are impacting on pricing and on costs.

“After many months of uncertainty and distress for beef farmers I am very pleased that agreement has been reached and I commend all those involved in the lengthy negotiations.