Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 23 June 2017

LIC pulls back from requirement to make farmers sign a contract in 2017

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

LIC Ireland has confirmed that its Irish customers will not be required to sign a new contract in 2017.

It has announced that it will be extending its timeline in requesting Irish farmers to sign a new agreement with the company.

It says the decision has been made in the wake of what is described as ‘confusion within the market’ around the implications its proposed new arrangements with customers.

LIC Ireland said it is working hard to ensure that there is a better understanding amongst their customers.

It says in an effort to find a solution that will support Irish farmers, the Irish dairy industry and protect the investment that LIC have made it endeavours to collaborate with its partners over the next six months to reach an agreement that satisfies all parties.

LIC Ireland said the company is under greater pressure to protect its intellectual property.

This it said is due to the significant investment in herd improvement and genetics made by LIC in New Zealand, and the newly introduced EU regulations recently reviewed meaning that In-Quarantine regulations have gone from 104 days previously, down to just 30 days for LIC’s European Bull Stud, this has enabled LIC to process more of their elite genetics earlier than ever before, offering Irish customers a wider range of choice.

It says these quarantine changes have meant that elite “high-demand” sires are available for use in Ireland before they can even be used in New Zealand in some cases, meaning LIC must protect its IP.

Due to the requirement for IP protection, LIC says there will  be a delay in getting some bulls into Ireland during this time, as these bulls are only permitted in markets where IP protection is already in place.

Commenting on the move, Mark Ryder, LIC’s European General Manager, “LIC has a proud 20-year history in Ireland, and we want to continue to improve the prosperity, productivity and efficiency of our Irish farmers.

“We have decided to put a stay on the requirement for farmers to agree to the new contracts for the remainder of 2017, while we devote the next six months to reaching an agreement with the ICBF.”

“We are disappointed to find ourselves in a position where we have to restrict access to some of our elite bulls which pose the greatest IP risk, but after five important years working to review these EU regulations in New Zealand so we could provide Irish farmers with the best product available, we firmly believe in our future here, and we want to find the best solution that services Irish farmers, while providing our shareholders with the IP protection they need.”

LIC has said that although the large majority of its Irish customers have signalled their willingness to agree to the new terms and conditions, there has been initial resistance from some industry stakeholders, whose relationship LIC values, however the company is committed to finding a solution and will work tirelessly with Irish farmers during this period to ensure that happens. 

Therefore, it says as a goodwill gesture for Irish farmers, LIC will still allow some of their Premier Sire bulls to be sold into Ireland, as they demonstrate their commitment to creating great cows for farmers here.

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