20,000 sheep farmers to benefit from 85% advance sheep welfare payments
Some 20,000 sheep farmers are set to benefit from 85% advance payments under the Sheep Welfare Scheme, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, announced.
These advance payments – which will total €16 million – are commencing on time this week to all eligible farmers, the minister added.
The scheme is co-funded by the European Union as part of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme, 2014-2020.
These payments will provide a significant financial boost to the individual farmers and the sheep sector in general, Minister Creed said.
The scheme – which was a key commitment in the Programme for Partnership Government – reflects the commitment of the government to the sheep sector in Ireland, and will make an important contribution to the sustainability of the sheep sector.
Any farmers that have any outstanding queries are urged to respond to the department immediately in order to facilitate payment.
Advance payments will continue to issue in November, as eligibility is confirmed for farmers with outstanding queries. Meanwhile, balancing payments are due to issue in 2018.
Concluding, Minister Creed said: “Year two of the scheme will be opening in the coming weeks and my department will be in contact with farmers shortly to advise them of this. At that stage, there will also be an opportunity for new entrants to the sector to join the scheme.”
Farmers who are accepted into the scheme will be provided with a payment of €10/ewe, as long as they have complied with the terms and conditions.
It is hoped the scheme – which is proposed to run for four years – will make a positive contribution to sheep welfare, with particular regard to the production system and the environment in which Irish sheep production takes place.
Sheep farmers with breeding ewes can apply for payment based on two actions they choose from a menu to undertake, depending on their flock type. Farmers who are accepted into the scheme must choose one option from each category.
*Hill flocks may not choose both mineral supplementation of lambs and meal feeding of lambs post weaning.