At a meeting with senior personnel in the Department of Agriculture in Dublin this week on sheep EID (Electronic Identification), IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman Sean Dennehy said the proposal to impose EID from October 1st cannot go ahead.
He said the timing is totally impractical and will seriously damage a fragile store lamb trade. “The necessary arrangements are not in place in the Department. EID from October 1st will have to be deferred.”
The IFA Sheep Chairman said the Department of Agriculture agreed with the IFA costings that the proposal to impose EID will cost sheep farmers an extra to €2m pa, or €14m over the lifetime of FoodWise up to 2025.
He said IFA made it very clear that sheep farmers, operating on very low incomes, cannot carry the additional costs of EID and the Department of Agriculture will have to provide a full subvention on the costs of EID tags. He said sheep farmers consider the proposal from the Department for a once off €50 for the purchase of tags as derisory and totally unacceptable.
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 and massive bills. 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 with extra costs of €2m is a non-runner and makes no sense whatsoever.”
The IFA sheep farmers leader said during this week’s discussion with the Department, the IFA pointed out 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 Agriculture Minister Michael Creed must take on board the critical issues raised by the IFA in relation to EID, particularly in relation to deferring the October deadline and 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.
The IFA delegation which met the Department also raised specific issues around EID and hill sheep as well as market access, the removal of non-statutory factory levies and TAMS support for sheep farmers.