IFA warns that Creed must deal with ‘unfair’ EID costs

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has warned that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, will have to tackle the rising costs of electronic identification tagging (EID) on farmers.

Sean Dennehy, the IFA National Sheep Committee chairman, estimates that EID will cost farmers €2 million per year and he cautions that Minister Creed “must address” the issue – as well as other “unfair” charges.

Dennehy’s comments came after a recent meeting between the IFA and senior officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on EID and the Clean Sheep Policy.

IFA made it very clear that Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed will have to deal with the issue of increasing costs and charges on sheep farmers.

“The minister must tackle the increased charges that factories are imposing under the Clean Sheep Policy, as well as the unfair SRM [Specified Risk Material] and scrapie charges,” said Dennehy.

He added that the department will have to come up with a more practical approach to the Clean Sheep Policy, adding that “sending lambs home is not on”.

‘Over-zealous’

Dennehy went on to describe the “over-zealous” approach by the vets as “very unhelpful”.

EID has been under the spotlight since the beginning of May 2018, when it was extended to all sheep, provoking much debate and criticism.

The move to the EID tagging will be implemented in two stages.

With effect from June 1, 2019, all sheep moving off a holding must be identified electronically, requiring either:
  • A single electronic slaughter tag – where lambs less than 12 months of age are moved directly from the birth holding to a slaughter plant;
  • An electronic tag set – in the case of all other sheep movements.

When the announcement was initially made farmers were angered by what they saw as a lack of any real consultation.

At the time, Fine Gael TD Pat Deering said that “many farmers are not satisfied that EID will mean further market access and an increase in the value of sheep farmers’ produce”.

The marts were also up-in-arms about EID, with the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) national marts executive Ray Doyle calling the move an “own goal for Ireland”, and adding that the measures were “far in excess of what is actually required by EU legislation”.

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