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Work continues to make new EID regulations workable in the field

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The NFU is optimistic that a workable solution can be found to the problems of cross compliance failures surrounding the implementation of Electronic Identification in sheep after a meeting between EU Commissioner Dalli and Defra Farming Minister Jim Paice.

The EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer policy John Dalli, visited Mr Paice following a personal invitation to talk first hand about the problems, issues and concerns UK farmers are experiencing with the introduction of EID. In particular talks centered on producer concerns over cross compliance breaches and the problems that will occur when movements of older sheep in the historic flock have to be individually recorded at the end of next year.

NFU livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh said: The NFU has deep concerns over the potential impacts cross compliance breaches will have on sheep producers as a result of technological limitations being felt on farm as they implement sheep EID. This problem will be made worse when it includes older sheep in the historic flock at the end of next year.

We need to act now or our farmers face being hit in the pocket, where they can least afford it and through no fault of their own.

It is essential that everyone accepts there are limitations on the ability of the technology for EID recording to deliver 100 per cent accuracy. Central Point Recording Centres are also essential to producers as they offer an alternative way of recording movements. Their future is also reliant on the recognition of inaccurate reads.

We need a system in place that recognises these inaccuracies and ensures farmers are not penalised for breaches of cross compliance through no fault of their own.

We are extremely grateful that the Minister has listened to our concerns, secured a meeting and taken the time to illustrate these real issues to Commissioner Dalli. It is good to hear the Commissioner committing to work with UK officials to find workable solutions to the problems facing industry.

We will continue to work closely with the Minister, Defra and the Commission to ensure we find a workable solution both now and for the future recording of the historic flock next year; one that recognises the limitations of using EID and does not unfairly financially penalise British producers.

Defra has said the EU Commissioner will now work with Agriculture Commissioner Ciolos on guidelines on cross-compliance reductions in connection with the functioning of the system. The Commissioner has also agreed to consider looking at extending the deadline for the requirement to individually record movements of older sheep.

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