The 65,000 suckler farmers of Ireland deserve a break, writes Gerard O’Brien, ICSA suckler chair.
They produce the cattle that Bord Bia profile on their advertising and tradeshow photos, top-quality naturally reared on its beef dam and fattened naturally as grass-fed cattle.
O grade cattle from dairy herd
In Bord Bia’s application for PGI status, they also want to include O grade cattle from the dairy herd.
The beef cow has a calf to produce beef and the dairy farmer only uses a beef bull when they have enough replacements.
More than often, these dairy cows are crossed with a Hereford or Angus, both of which have their own beef brand which are heavily promoted in all supermarkets.
Suckler farmers deserve their own brand and not have their naturally reared grass-fed beef marketed the same as dairy-bred beef.
For the greater good of the industry, if Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue could see that for Irish beef farmers, the only PGI worth going to the EU commission with is a beef PGI based on the beef cow herd and fast track the suckler brand with farmers taking ownership of the seats on its board so they can benefit from its implementation, preferably in the near future to safeguard our beef cow herd.