Eamon Corley and Hugh Doyle, co-founders of the Beef Plan Movement, hosted what they regard as a “very well organised and civilised inaugural AGM” on Thursday, May 6th, 2021.
Directors, Jason Fitzgerald (Cork), John Moloney (Limerick), Kevin O Brien, (Galway), Emmanuel O’ Dea (Galway) and Hugh Doyle (Meath) were present to provide reports on the group’s journey to date.
According to a statement from the co-founders, Jason Fitzgerald acknowledged the problems faced by Beef Plan and the steps that they had taken to “create a functional organisation”.
He also outlined activity regarding communications for Beef Plan members going forward.
This includes creating a new website where “all members would be able to key in their membership number and access all the deals on farm inputs that are now in place through the Beef Plan purchasing group”.
6,000 cattle sold
Furthermore, John Moloney outlined the purchasing group’s progress and revealed that “almost all farm inputs” are now available through the group.
The third director to speak was Kevin O’ Brien, who provided an update on Emerald Isle Beef Producers.
“With over 6,000 cattle already sold through the group and 6 different factories buying cattle from the group on a weekly basis, as well as a new market for the export of factory-fit heifers to the UK.”
“Farmers now had a vital instrument to assist them to maintain control of their cattle at the most important time, namely when they are selling them.”
He also noted the work the group has undertaken regarding the creation of two clubs: one for farmers with Shorthorn and Angus cows and the other for farmers with British Friesian cows.
Emmanuel O’ Dea provided an insight into various policy subcommittees where Beef Plan farmers would be able to “create policies on all aspects of farming and make sure their voice is heard”.
He highlighted, in particular, the challenges facing farmers concerning actions to address climate change.
Hugh Doyle covered the path forward and the steps that would be necessary to develop an organisation that “every beef farmer can get behind”.
According to the statement, Beef Plan accountant, John Burke, also revealed the organisation’s financial position.
The new structures of Beef Plan were outlined, and it was stressed that Beef Plan is a “grassroots organisation whose strength comes from the farmers on the ground”.
Official farmer representative organisation
Next came the election of the sub-committees, which took place on the night.
“Elections took place with positions on seven national subcommittees being filled from the floor. This is the first stage of the procedure as outlined in the rules and governance which will lead to all the various positions in the Beef Plan Movement being filled.”
“Recently, the Minister of Agriculture gave the Beef Plan Movement a checklist of all the various functions that the organisation would have to be fulfilled to enable them to gain recognition as an official farmer representative organisation.”
“These functions included: a legal entity, an inaugural AGM and rules of governance that have been accepted and signed up to by a substantial current paid membership. The Beef Plan Movement would now appear to have ticked all the boxes on this checklist.”
The group is now sending in their completed checklist to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and are “awaiting his approval”.
It was reported that over 1,000 members have already registered, with 150 new members joining on Wednesday of last week.
Meanwhile, the ‘other half of the organisation’ will host what it regards as its ‘AGM’ at 7 pm Saturday, May 15th, 2021.
Items for discussion at the virtual meeting include PGI, suckler-beef promotion, the organisation’s future operations, and re-branding.