The Government's task force to deal with issues in the beef sector has met for a second time in Dublin.
Representatives of leading retailers took part in the forum for the first time.
Irish Farmers' Association President Joe Healy said the retailers are "kingmakers in all of this at the top of the pile dictating the price."
He said retailers talking about corporate social responsibility need to realise that farmers producing "top quality products" for supermarkets need to be paid a sustainable price for their product.
Mr Healy said retailers have a key role to play in ensuring farmers are paid a sustainable price.
He said meat processors and retailers need to show leadership and pass some of the prices increases they have received for their product across Europe back to farmers.
The head of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers' Association said retailers need to approach the task force meaningfully and offer a fair share of profits to farmers.
Pat McCormack said farmer confidence is "precarious", adding that if Ireland wants a vibrant beef industry to form part of the Government's food strategy action needs to be taken now to improve prices paid to farmers.
The task force meeting was attended by retailers, meat processors and the main farming organisations.
It is part of an ongoing series of meetings to address concerns over the low prices that farmers are being paid for their cattle when sold for slaughter.