Over 60% of farmers intend to opt out of paying the ICBF levy

In response to an Agriland poll, 63% of farmers have said that they intend on opting out of paying the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation’s levy on cattle tags.

Over 1,300 farmers took part in the poll on the ICBF levy, which farmers can now opt out of paying when ordering cattle tags. The levy accounts for in the region of €850,000 of the ICBF’s annual funding.

Speaking to Agriland, Chairman of ICBF Michael Doran, said that ICBF hasn’t got any official figures for the fall-off in farmers not paying the levy yet.

Doran said that it’s a significant funding issue now for the organisation if there is any fall-off and that the ICBF will have to explore alternative options for funding.

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Should there be a major drop in the number of farmers paying the levy, he said that the ICBF may have to look at introducing a statutory levy, something like the Bord Bia levy which helps fund its marketing side.

Another alternative source of funding it may have to look into would be increasing its service charges or possibly even cutting some of the services it provides, Doran said.

“This has come about from the change from a single tag supplier to multiple suppliers. The Department of Agriculture will have to help in finding a solution.”

He said that the levy was brought in when ICBF was formed and that it proved a good model, that everyone benefited from the work it was doing, even if they didn’t engage directly with ICBF.

The levy is a ‘voluntary’ contribution, however up until now, farmers have been unable to opt out of paying it when ordering a set of cattle tags.

A levy of 38c is applied to a set of cattle tags. Now, with two cattle tags suppliers approved farmers can decide when ordering tags if they want to pay the levy or not.

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