The ICMSA will not accept a position where the costs of implementing an electronic identification (EID) tagging system for cattle is placed on farmers alone.
As revealed by the Irish Farmers Journal last week, the blue passport could soon be a thing of the past, as the Department of Agriculture looks to scope out the possibility of EID for cattle.
Deputy president of the ICMSA Lorcan McCabe has said that given that EID tagging has benefits that extend well beyond the farm gate, including benefits to livestock marts, meat processors and the Department, ICMSA will not accept a position where the costs of implementing the system is placed on the farmers alone.
McCabe said that in a situation where the benefits will be shared out among all the stakeholders in the industry, the costs should likewise be shared out in a transparent way.
McCabe said it is “high time” that the costs of all new regulations were shared equitably along all the links in the food supply chain. He said that that farmers are caught in a cycle where their input costs were consistently rising, while the prices they received were consistently falling.
That destructive cycle was compounded by the fact that farmers were expected to bear the additional costs imposed by what McCabe described as a “never-ending stream” of regulation and directives.
The proposal to move to an EID system of tagging cattle represented an opportunity to break that cycle that had the farmers always paying for changes that benefited everyone in the sector, McCabe said.
The ICMSA has said that the Department will need to consult with all the relevant stakeholders in relation to EID tagging before even considering implementing such a proposal.
“The days when everyone passed the bill for these new systems back to the farmer are gone and everyone must realise that,” said McCabe.