Farmers will no longer be able to opt out of paying the 38c levy on a set of cattle tags to help fund the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) as of 1 November 2017, the Irish Farmers Journal understands.

Currently, farmers can opt in or opt out of paying the levy when ordering tags. However, after 1 November, the levy will be compulsory for all cattle farmers.

It is understood the Department of Agriculture and the ICBF are closing in on a deal which would see the three cattle tag suppliers agree to collect the 38c levy on a set of tags to fund the body.

It is not expected that farmers will see an increase in tag prices as a result of the change in the levy collection – except those who opted out of paying the levy since November of last year.

Letters explaining the change in circumstances are expected to be sent to farmers in the coming weeks.

If a farmer orders cattle tags by 31 October this year, they can still opt out of paying the ICBF levy. However, from 1 November, all farmers will have to pay it, regardless of whether they want to or not.

In 2016, the tag levy contributed approximately €640,000 to the ICBF, down on the €890,000 collected in 2015 – a fall of almost 30%.

The option of not paying the 38c levy was only introduced in November of last year.

It came at the same time as three cattle tag companies were approved to supply tags to the State – Mullinahone Co-op, Cormac Tagging and Datamars.

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