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Meeting explains electronic ID system

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: February 13, 2014

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ONE of the main figures to administer a new electronic sheep identification system for North Devon's flocks will be in the county next week to explain it.

The National Sheep Association is encouraging all farmers who need to record flocks, either by computer or on paper, to attend.

The local branch of the association has invited Joe Ryan from the chosen data processing firm, SouthWestern, to answer questions and detail the process.

The Ireland-based firm won the contract from Defra to help administer sheep flocks identification electronically.

Bryan Griffiths, of Bishops Nympton, chairman of the association in the South West, said: "There's a lot of interest and also confusion about the new system, so this is a good chance to find out how it will work."

The visit by Mr Ryan is on Wednesday, February 19, at Exeter Livestock Market, and is one of six meetings across England over the next four weeks, looking at the upcoming changes to paper and electronic reporting for sheep farmers.

The meetings are free and open to association members and non-members.

From April 1 farmers will be able to choose to record livestock movements electronically using the new database.

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: "Given the pressures on SouthWestern to deliver the database by April 1, we are pleased they have made the time to join us for these meetings and provide farmers in England with much needed information for the future.

"The implementation of the database has meant some unpopular decisions have been made by Defra, including the removal of the non-electronic slaughter tag from January 1 2015. But these meetings are not to debate the pros and cons of electronic identification but to give farmers the information they need to understand the changes coming in.

"A paper-based system will remain in place for farmers who are not enthusiastic about reporting movements using a computer, but I would encourage these people to attend a meeting too, so they understand the changes to both online and paper reporting."

Booking is not essential but anyone interested in going at 7.30pm on Wednesday, February 19 to the Exeter Livestock Centre, Matford Park Road, is asked, for catering reasons, to call NSA on 01684 892661 or emailing charlotte@national sheep.org.uk.

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