The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed today announced the mandatory extension of electronic identification to all sheep.
The new rules will require all sheep sold from 1 October 2018 onwards to be identified electronically. This timeframe will allow farmers a reasonable period of time to use up stocks of tags on hand. The Minister added that he intends to introduce a one off support measure up to a maximum of €50 per keeper for the first purchase of EID tags.
Lambs under 12 months of age moving directly to slaughter from the holding of birth will be required to be identified with a single electronic tag. All other sheep will require an EID tag set comprised of two tags – one conventional tag and a corresponding electronic tag. However a conventional tag and an EID bolus will be permitted also.
The Minister further announced that electronic tag readers and associated software are included as eligible investments in the Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) scheme to assist sheep farmers in flock management. He stressed however, that tag readers are not a requirement for the new sheep identification system.
The move to full EID and the inclusion of EID readers as an eligible investment in TAMS will make the recording of the movement of lambs off farm much more convenient and will greatly simplify the paperwork involved for sheep farmers.
Meanwhile IFA President Joe Healy said the announcement by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed on the imposition of compulsorily electronic sheep tagging on all sheep from October 1st is adding insult to injury after the fodder crisis and the financial challenges sheep farmers have had to endure this winter.
He said it is astonishing that Minister Creed would impose further costs and bureaucracy on farmers on the same day that Brussels has proposed a cut to CAP Direct Payments.
Joe Healy said the Minister is ignoring farmers and appears to be dancing to the tune of the meat factories, which are pushing hardest for EID.
He said sheep farmers will be really angry with this announcement from the Minister as they see everybody benefiting except farmers, who will have to pick up all of the costs. In addition, it comes on top of the Clean Sheep policy which the Minister imposed earlier this year and it has caused immense hardship for the sector.