Enhanced sheep tagging scheme mooted for €25m package
A tagging scheme delivering enhanced traceability in the sheep flock is one of the key measures being considered as part of the €25m package for the sector.
Farming bodies are seeking a 'menu' of options that farmers could pick from to meet the requirements of the new funding.
The ICSA's John Brooks warned against using the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) as a blueprint for rolling out the sheep scheme, pointing out that breeding within the sector was not at the same level.
"The department are keen to have as part of it enhanced traceability in the flock," said Mr Brooks. However, he said the ICSA felt it wasn't a sensible requirement to put electronic tags on lambs that were going straight from farm to slaughter.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said discussions were underway with the farm representative groups and that he was keen to get their input.
Mr Creed said the sector has "waited long enough" and his department was anxious to have it in place for 2017.
He said he was keen to have a scheme they could collectively sign off on as the monies would be coming from the Rural Development Programme under CAP and it requires amendment at EU level.
"I want to pay the industry this money. Obviously there will be a quid pro quo as otherwise it would be direct income aid and the State can't just say 'there is a cheque'," Mr Creed said.