75% of farmers would not ‘opt in’ to pay a farm organisation levy

Some 75% of farmers would not opt in to pay a farm organisation levy, known as the European Involvement Fund (EIF) levy, an Agriland poll has revealed.

The result of the poll, which over 1,000 farmers responded to, comes after the Larry Goodman-owned ABP, Ireland’s largest beef processor, this week announced that it is to stop the blanket collection of levies from farmers.

ABP, which processes 22% of the beef kill, is writing to farmer suppliers this week to offer them the option to ‘opt in’ to the levy collection by stating so on a form.

levy poll

Farmers who wish to continue paying the EIF levy must return the form to ABP saying that they wish to continue paying it. However, they will be automatically opting out of paying the levy if they do not return the form.

It is estimated that the levy collection across all income sectors is worth €4.7m to IFA every year, which the association describes as ‘voluntary’.

IFA is the main recipient of the controversial EIF levy, which is collected by meat factories from farmers.

The EIF levy was introduced in the 1970s, to help fund representation for farmers in Brussels. It has been continued since and the main beneficiaries of it are the IFA and ICMSA, with the IFA thought to be in receipt of over 90% of the levies collected from processors.

ICMSA is understood to receive approximately €100,000 annually from levies.

Meanwhile, in a statement to Agriland, Ireland’s second largest beef processor, Dawn Meats, announced that  has no plans to change its existing levy collection arrangements unless asked to do so by farmers or the farm organisations.

Kepak, the State’s third largest beef processor, had no comment to make on the situation when contacted by Agriland.