Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 March 2018

Increase in cattle tag price proposed as 50% of farmers snub voluntary ICBF levy

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Discussions are ongoing between the Department of Agriculture and cattle tag suppliers in an effort to come up with a solution to a funding shortfall at the ICBF, which has now reached over €400,000.

The shortfall comes on the back of a decision by the Department to allow multiple companies supply cattle tags in Ireland and the highlighting of the voluntary nature of the ICBF levy.

The ICBF is a farmer-led body which receives its funding from a number of sources including farmers, the breeding industry and the State.

The funding model used by the ICBF for many years involved one third of income coming from farmers, one third from service organisations and one third from an annual grant from the Department.

The tag levy, which formerly raised approximately €900,000, has been a critical source of funding for the ICBF for many years, constituting approximately 20pc of core funding.

However, according to figures supplied by Fianna Fail TD, Jackie Cahill in the Dail this week - between October 1 and March 31, 50,633 farmers and herdowners ordered 2.057m tags.

Some 25,069 of those herdowners opted not to pay the levy, resulting in 1,091,238 tag sets that did not contribute the levy to the ICBF - approximately half of all tags.

This, he says has resulted in a shortfall in funding of €414,670 for the ICBF for that six-month period.

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However, Minister for State Sean Kyne said the Department has been working with the ICBF and tag providers with the objective of finding a solution that addresses the funding shortfalls.

He said a proposal was put to the tag supply companies - Mullinahone, Cormac Tagging and Datamars - that the tag price should be increased to incorporate the ICBF levy.

“I understand that further meetings are planned over the coming weeks.

“Obviously, if there is to be any increase in the tag prices, the Department would be required to explain why this is happening and the importance of it,” he said.

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