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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘If approved, this PGI status has the potential to improve the market positioning of Irish beef’

Stakeholders on the Beef Taskforce have agreed in principle to support the draft application for PGI status for Irish grass-fed beef.

Following yesterday’s meeting, the Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D said his department will now complete the remaining necessary steps in this process.

“I would like to acknowledge the efforts of all concerned in progressing a PGI application for Irish grass-fed beef. If approved, this PGI status has the potential to improve the market positioning of Irish beef at a time when it is most badly needed.”

The Minister stated, “If the PGI application is approved in due course by the EU Commission, it has the potential to enable Ireland’s beef offering to be strongly positioned in terms of our unique quality, grass-fed product, specifically called out as Irish, and with benefits for all those in the supply chain, principally the primary producer.”

The Beef Taskforce also agreed in principle that, if successful, a PGI monitoring group will be established to report to the Taskforce on progress on a regular basis, with a majority farmer representation.

Minister McConalogue said he will be raising two issues with the Commission in submitting the final application.

These include:
  • Reflecting “strong” views from some stakeholders – “I will be making the point that grass-fed young bulls should be included, when further data on this cohort is available to support this.”
  • Reflecting discussions with my counterpart in Northern Ireland, that Ireland would support the PGI being extended on an all-island basis, when a grass-fed verification system is in place in Northern Ireland.
Up to €6 million for Irish suckler beef brand

The TaskForce also supported a proposal from Bord Bia for a programme of suckler beef promotion and the development of a brand proposition for Irish suckler beef, with a budget of up to €6 million over the next three years, subject to annual review of progress.

This annual review, which will be overseen by a monitoring group with majority farmer representation, will assess progress in relation to the creation of market demand by differentiating Irish suckler beef and the ability of the brand to deliver improved returns.

This work will begin immediately, according to McConalogue.

The minister welcomed the commitment by stakeholders to work together in the development of a suckler brand that “resonates in the marketplace and we can all stand over and support”.

Supports for suckler-beef farmers

Minister McConalogue concluded, “Budget 2021 provided significant funding for the livestock sector, particularly in the form of targeted supports for suckler-beef farmers.”

“These schemes will support suckler farmers to improve the environmental and economic performance of their beef animals, while recording actions which will assist in demonstrating their environmental and welfare credentials.”

“I hope that these schemes can be built on and developed in preparations for the next round of CAP. These supports will align well with the development of a brand proposition for Irish suckler beef,’’ he concluded.

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