IFA President Joe Healy said it is clear from the most recent announcement by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed on his decision to impose compulsory EID tagging on sheep that he is not listening to sheep farmers.
“Sheep farmers are very annoyed with the Minister over his failure to support them in the fodder crisis and the way he allowed the factories imposed additional operational costs on them under the clean lamb policy. The Minister is now pilling additional costs on top of sheep farmers with EID.”
Joe Healy said proposing a once off subvention of €100 on tags completely underestimates the costs involved. He said both the IFA and the Department have calculated that EID will costs an additional €2m pa or up to €14m during the FoodWise programme. He said “the Minister needs to stop spending sheep farmers’ money and step up to the mark on the real costs of EID that he is imposing on the sector”.
IFA National Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy said deferring the implementation date for EID to June 1st 2019 is a help as it could not go ahead from Oct 1st 2018 as originally announced by the Minister.
At the recent meeting with the IFA, the Department requested that farmers using EID must mark or brand their sheep “in order to maintain traceability and ownership”. Sean Dennehy said this is a major flaw and the IFA made it very clear to the Department that EID cannot go ahead until a proper system of in time movement recording is put in place by the Department in all outlets.
The IFA has also pointed out to the Department that there are no traceability benefits at all from imposing EID on sheep that go from the farm of origin directly to slaughter. He said the EU regulations provide that it is not necessary to apply EID to these sheep.
Sean Dennehy said sheep farmers are going through a horrendous year. “2018 is proving to be extremely difficult. The bad weather in the spring and the very difficult fodder situation left sheep farmers with major losses, massive bills and no support. On top of this, the Department imposed the clean lamb policy with major additional costs. The extreme drought conditions combined with severe factory and store lamb price cuts have left farmers with no income. Imposing EID at extra costs of €2m on top of this is a bad move”.
Sean Dennehy said Agriculture Minister Michael Creed must take on board the critical issues raised by the IFA in relation to EID, particularly in relation to providing a full subvention on the costs.
In addition, he said IFA has proposed Minister Creed needs to introduce an additional support payment for the sheep sector utilising the unspent funds from the Sheep Welfare Scheme and RDP. He said IFA has proposed an additional environmental targeted payment of €5 per ewe and this will be a key part of IFA’s Budget 2019 campaign.