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Herd owners opting out of paying the ICBF Levy
April 14, 2017

Close to 50% of herd owners have opted out of paying the ICBF levy when buying tags in recent months, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, confirmed.

Between October 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017, a total of 50,623 herd keepers ordered 2,057,116 bovine tag sets, he revealed.

Out of this total, some 25,069 of them – representing 1,091,238 tag sets – opted not to pay the voluntary Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) levy, Minister Creed added.

This meant that just over 49% of farmers had opted against paying the levy in that six-month period.

Minister Creed was responding to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fail TD Jackie Cahill.

Last year, it was confirmed that farmers would no longer be required to pay the ICBF levy of 38c on a set of cattle tags. In 2014 the ICBF collected in the region of €855,000 through the levy.

In the ten years prior to 2016, it is estimated that farmers paid more than €750,000 a year to the ICBF when ordering cattle tags.

Financial issues within the ICBF

Last year, the Department introduced a new approval process for the provision of official bovine identification tags. Three tag vendors are currently approved under the new arrangements, Minister Creed said.

The reduction in levy collections has lead to ‘major uncertainty’ with regard to funding, he added.

“The ICBF was established in 1998 following a number of years of industry consultation among all stakeholders in the cattle breeding industry.

“It is the only body approved under EU legislation to carry out testing, genetic evaluation and publication of breeding values for Irish dairy and beef cattle.

“The objective of the ICBF is to achieve the greatest possible genetic improvement in the national cattle herd for the benefit of Irish farmers and the national dairy and beef industries,” he said.

The organisation delivers a public good in the area of cattle breed improvement; which is the foundation of a profitable and sustainable dairy and beef herd, Minister Creed said.

It is a ‘farmer led’ body receiving its funding from a number of sources including farmers, the breeding industry and with state support. A critical funding source has been the tag levy.

“However, a significant drop in levy collections has arisen, leading to major uncertainty for this source of funding.

“Solutions to the financial issues are being explored by the ICBF with industry stakeholders and the Department – with discussions on-going,” he added.

 

Source: Agriland


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