SHEEP farmers in Cumbria, north Lancashire and the Dales are being offered an insight into new hi-tech rules for the way livestock movements are recorded.

The J36 Rural Centre, Crooklands, will be one of the venues for a series of meetings taking place around England to examine the latest changes to paper and electronic reporting.

Six sessions are being run around England by the National Sheep Association (NSA) and J36 has been chosen as the venue for the North West region.

After April 1, farmers will be able to choose to record livestock movements electronically using a new database.

The NSA has teamed up with Irish firm SouthWestern to offer farmers a chance to ask questions and find out more about the database from the people behind it. The meetings are free and open to all in the farming industry.

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

“SouthWestern are not doing many farmer-facing meetings so I urge all sheep farmers to join us on one of the six dates.

“The implementation of the database has meant some unpopular decisions have been made, including the removal of the non-electronic slaughter tag from 2015 – 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.

“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 the online and paper reporting methods and how they can move from paper to electronic in the future even if they do not want to straight away.”

The meeting at J36 Rural Centre will take place on March 5 at 1pm.