The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has said the option for sheep factories to use Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) must be provided to farmers who prefer to be paid this way.

The IFA said it has met Meat Industry Ireland (MII) on this issue and set out farmers’ demands to have this facility provided, but to-date no lamb processing factories are offering this option to farmers.

IFA Sheep Committee chair, Sean Dennehy said: “We are seeing more and more rural services taken away. The closure of local bank branches in towns throughout the country is making it more difficult for farmers to lodge cheques.”

EFT at sheep factories

The association said that members of the IFA Sheep Committee contacted all of the sheep factories in the past few days. 

The committee said that while some were more positively disposed to providing the service, none are offering the facilitation.

Dennehy said it’s “not acceptable” that across the sheep processing industry, this payment option is not available and has called on all sheep processing factories to put the option in place.

He said he will be formally writing to all of the sheep processing factories setting out the need to provide EFT and seeking a realistic timeframe to have this service for farmers.

“Farmers are annoyed this basic service is not being provided to-date and are calling on factories to come forward with commitments on implementation within reasonable timeframes,” Dennehy concluded.

Marts getting on board with electronic payments

Recently, Cootehill Livestock Mart announced that it would start issuing electronic payments to farmers as part of its commitment to a “cleaner, greener future”.

The Cavan-based mart is embracing the payment method in order to make the payment process more efficient, while also doing its bit to support the environment.

In a notice, mart management said: “To do our little bit for the planet and save trees from felling for paper, we will reduce the amount of paper we use by making electronic fund transfers for all payments up to €1,500.

“This is also a speedier, more efficient method of payment to our valuable customers.”