Once-off EID sheep tag payments worth €365,000 commence

The commencement of the first tranche of payments under the EID sheep tag subsidy scheme has been announced today (Friday, February 1) by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.

Payments totalling €365,000 have now issued to 5,300 sheep keepers.

Further payments will issue as more farmers make their first purchase of tags during the year, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The new scheme, confirmed by the minister in August 2018, sees a maximum amount of up to €100 payable for the first order for EID tags purchased by farmers after October 1, 2018.

In order to ensure the simplification of the process, sheep farmers do not need to make an application for this payment.

Instead, the department will calculate the amount due to each farmer under the scheme and will issue payments on a quarterly basis as farmers make qualifying purchases of tags.

The EID sheep tag subsidy scheme is designed to assist sheep keepers with the transition to the introduction of mandatory EID of all sheep with effect from June 1, 2019, according to the department in a statement.

“The introduction of mandatory EID as previously announced by the minister, is required as the current national sheep identification system is widely acknowledged to be very complex, with an over-reliance on the manual transcription of individual sheep identification numbers,” the statement said.

“The extension of electronic identification will simplify the sheep tagging system, significantly reduce the record-keeping requirements for sheep farmers moving sheep to livestock marts, slaughter plants and export assembly centres and provide a more accurate and robust sheep traceability system in support of animal health and public health objectives.”

Through these benefits it will support the further development and sustainability of the sheep industry, the department has said.

The department asserts that this move to full EID will “protect Ireland’s reputation as a source of safe and secure food and animals”, adding that it will put Ireland’s sheep traceability system on a par with other major competitor exporting countries in maintaining and securing new international markets for Irish sheep meat.

The minister commented, noting: “The extension of electronic identification will simplify the sheep tagging system for farmers, and the provision of this once-off payment is designed to address some of the concerns raised by sheep farmers in moving to the full EID system.”