Only a few weeks ago I raised the issue of farmers having to make compulsory payments to support the ICBF (The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation) and the reply I recieved from the Minster on the matter this week has vindicated my stance. We need to take a close look at how the ICBF is funded and taking money out of farmers pockets without them having a say is not acceptable. The main farm organisations also need to oppose this move too.
Here is the Minister’s reply to questions I asked him recently…………….. The questions were……………….
To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine his plans to make the suppliers of cattle tags to farmers pay a compulsory contribution or fee to the ICBF on tags sold; and if he will make a statement on the matter ……….and……………..To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine his plans to make the currently voluntary contributions which farmers can opt to pay to the ICBF when ordering tags compulsory; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
This was his reply…………………..
ICBF is the only body approved under EU legislation (Commission Decision 2006/427/EC) 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. 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. 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 collection has arisen leading to major uncertainty in this source of funding. Solutions to the financial issues are being explored by ICBF with industry stakeholders and DAFM and with discussions on-going.
I will be following up on this matter with the Minister and the Department until I recieve a satisfactory outcome.