Tagging bombshell will push some farmers over the edge
Parachuting mandatory electronic tagging of factory lambs on top of farmers without first consulting them is a text book way of how not to bring about changes in sheep farming.
The bombshell dropped by the Minister for Agriculture is not going to go down well with burnt out sheep farmers who will view it as yet another cost and another layer of bureaucracy.
To put it in perspective, my tag costs will increase from €300 for the tip tags to over €2000 for the electronic tags. That's an extra €1,700 for a tag that will remain in the lambs' ears for less than 12 hours.
A scheme to get farmers involved in protecting and improving the sheep industry in Ireland should have been implemented alongside an increase in the sheep welfare payment to €50 per head.
This tagging plan is in line with our European colleagues who also have to apparently bring in EID tagging of all sheep.
But the proposed once-off 'support' of €50 to buy tags is insulting to farmers. I initially thought that this was a joke.
Combined with the 'clean sheep policy', this EID tagging proposal could just be the straw that breaks the camel's back. More and more farmers I talk to are considering either reducing sheep numbers or are exiting the business altogether.
They are fed up with layer after layer of red tape, rules and regulations and are increasingly weighing up the options. Some are even considering renting out parts of their farms. I don't like to be negative but there is only so much a farmer can cope with.