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Minister Smith announces plans for Simplification for Cattle Records

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, announced today that he plans to simplify the record keeping requirements for cattle, commencing in 2010.

The simplification plan will involve the removal of the requirement to maintain the on farm bovine herd register, known as "the blue book", for those farmers who use agfood.ie for electronic registration of births and movements.  In addition, the Minister confirmed his intention to replace the current bovine passport with a simpler document.

The Minister emphasised that farmers who do not avail of the Department's online facilities will continue to be required to maintain the blue book.

The simplification proposal is planned as a two stage process involving removal of the blue book for agfood.ie users from mid 2010 and the introduction of the simplified replacement passport document during 2011.

Minister Smith said "These changes will have significant benefits for stakeholders, including reduced bureaucracy, removal of duplication and increased flexibility for farmers."  The Minister added that this initiative is part of a determined effort to make optimum use of the Department's records to reduce the burden of record keeping for farmers and other stakeholders.

The advanced IT systems in place in the Department facilitate removal of much of the paper used for cattle records.

The Minister will now initiate a consultation process with stakeholders.

The Minister concluded "A significant advantage for farmers will be the reduced risk associated with financial penalties arising at cross compliance inspections.  The removal of the requirement for the blue book in respect of farmers that make notifications online and the replacement of the passport with a simpler document will assist farmers in this regard."

Date Released: 21 April 2010