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Minister Smith Announces Record Levels of Electronic Calf Registrations

- Half a million calves registered electronically in 2010 -

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD today announced a record level of electronic calf registrations. In 2010, over 500,000 calves were registered electronically using the Department's online service or the use of an approved farm management package.

The Department is making a determined effort to make optimum use of its records to reduce the burden of record keeping for farmers and other stakeholders. In July last year, the Department introduced a new on-line initiative which removed the requirement to maintain the on-farm bovine herd register, known as the "blue book" for those farmers that register with the Department at www.agfood.ie and use the Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) system to register calves and record movement notifications.

Farmers that wish to avail of this new electronic herd register facility are required to complete an online application within AIM to use the database as an electronic herd register and agree to abide by the terms and conditions of use.

Minister Smith commented that "This development presents a unique opportunity for the rapidly increasing number of farmers that register calves electronically to avail of the opportunity to rely on the Department's AIM database as the herd register.  This saves farmers valuable time and cuts down on their paperwork."

Farmers may use the easy-to-follow options available under the AIM on-line system to apply for compliance certificates to move animals privately and check herd profile details and movement of cattle in and out of the herd.

Minister Smith noted that since July 5,000 farmers signed up to use the on-line herd register.  This usage of the on-line herd register represents a very encouraging trend in the use of computer technology by farmers.  In view of the high number of farm families with computers, it is expected that many more farmers will sign up to use the online electronic herd register over the coming months.

The Minister added that a significant advantage for farmers using the online electronic herd register will be the reduced risk associated with financial penalties arising at cross compliance inspections.

The Minister concluded that this initiative complements the historic arrangement whereby farmers opting to use a farm management software package, approved by the Department as an electronic herd register, are not required to maintain the "blue book".

Date Released: 18 January 2011