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John Fagan: EID tagging has a place in sheep farming but who it benefits remains to be seen


John Fagan

John Fagan

John Fagan

Now that the General Election is over I hope political minds focus on the challenges facing our economy and climate.

For me the introduction of mandatory EID tagging on sheep farmers after the worst spring in living memory was a cruel move that was poorly thought out.

I accept that EID has a place in sheep farming and it will benefit the industry, but who exactly it benefits still remains to be seen.

Lamb prices since its introduction have been deplorable. They are picking up now somewhat and possibly that is on foot of there being almost 100,000 less sheep in the system and some closure on the Brexit deadline.

EID, if it does get us new markets, must deliver us higher prices.

Political parties have generally agreed to increasing the sheep welfare payment to €15. This is welcome but why it could not have been done along with the introduction of EID is something I find hard to understand. The money was there to do this as €7m from the sheep welfare scheme was going unspent each year.

I hope that the next Minister for Agriculture listens to farmers from all sectors and is not defined by indifference or aloofness and seeks to lift all boats.

It would also be nice to see some politicians attend the Teagasc talks that are taking place around the country showcasing the tremendous research and work that is being done with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.

Climate change and Brexit are the cornerstones from which future policies will be defined and we need to all work together on this - with farmers and politicians from whatever parties working together, not at odds with each other.

Indo Farming