'Electronic tagging is essential for sheepmeat exports to US'
Meat factory bosses have claimed electronic tagging is essential to export sheepmeat into the US.
Farming bodies have warned EID systems would hit profits and add to costs in the sheep industry.
“We have a world class cattle traceability system. We should demand the same for our sheep system,” said Meat Industry Ireland's Joe Ryan, as he addressed the Irish Grassland Association’s sheep conference in Mullingar.
“It is about market access and new markets.” Mr Ryan said it would be vital for the US market.
However, farming bodies have queried the necessity of an electronic tagging system, warning a pair of EID tags would cost €1.30.
Mr Ryan said they still were standing behind their five year plan for the sector in spite of the challenges of Brexit. He said they still believed the country’s sheep breeding flock could hit three million and add an extra €150m into the sector.
However, he warned it does take considerable time and work to access new markets.
Teagasc economist Kevin Hanrahan warned the UK was the second largest net contributor to the EU’s CAP budget and sheep farmers could feel the effects of a drop in subsidies post Brexit.