The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has stated that the Department of Agriculture’s setting of 31 December deadlines for paperwork and lab results are not realistic for farmers to meet.

Calls to the ICSA from worried farmer members have spiked in the scramble to meet the end-of-year deadlines, the association’s president Dermot Kelleher said.

The ICSA is looking for “realism” in the setting of deadlines and a pushback until the end of January to allow farmers appropriate timeframes to complete scheme admin work.

“Two examples are the deadline for accepting slurry imports and the deadline for getting genomic samples to the lab,” Kelleher commented.

“We have had quite a lot of calls from members distressed about this and we are calling for the deadlines to be extended up to the end of January.

“The reality is that the 31 December deadline is beset with practical problems and this is particularly true of 2023.”


Kelleher claimed that Department correspondence informing or reminding farmers of deadlines were not issued in sufficient time for a stage of the year when farmers are “snowed under” completing jobs.

“Farmers got texts just before Christmas urging them to get things done at a time when this just isn’t easy,” the farm leader continued.

“For example, texts went out on the evening of 22 December telling farmers that they must have their genomic samples in the lab in December.

“But December 22 was a Friday evening and the following Monday and Tuesday were Christmas and Stephen's Day.

“This left them just two working days to get samples sent off and again December 30 and 31 were weekend days with no post.”

Adviser pressure

For Department deadlines concerning administration work often carried out by advisers, Kelleher reiterated that the run-up to the new year is a busy time for these advisers too.

“In relation to the deadline to accept slurry imports, a lot of farmers have not met that target. In some cases, farmers rely on their planners to do this, but planners were simply not available at Christmas to deal with all of this.”