Over 2,000 applications submitted to Sheep Welfare Scheme to date

Over 2,100 applications have been received to date for the Sheep Welfare Scheme, the Department of Agriculture has confirmed to Agriland.

At present, no breakdown of hill and lowland category applications is available.

Information meetings for the €25m Sheep Welfare Scheme, which was announced as part of Budget 2017, began this week in Dunmanway, Co. Cork on Tuesday.

They will be running in a range of venues across the country and will finish up on January 25 in Donegal.

Under the scheme farmers are required to choose two actions which can improve the overall welfare of their flock.

The actions a farmer chooses will depend on whether he/she has a lowland or hill flock and must be completed over a 12-month period.

Applicants must choose one action from Category A and one action from Category B as appropriate to their flock type (lowland or hill) by ticking the appropriate boxes beside each option on the application form.

The scheme is to run for four years, with farmers receiving €10/ewe providing they comply fully with the terms and conditions of the scheme.

Where an action is not fully completed in line with the scheme conditions it will be not be eligible for payment, the Department advises.

The two actions chosen at this point must be adhered to by the applicant for the full duration of the scheme – which is currently proposed at four years, renewable annually.

It is therefore not possible to change actions once chosen.

The Department has outlined, as with all EU-funded schemes that an inspection process will be in place including:

  • On site verification of animal numbers and inspection of record book and documents to confirm actions are carried out.
  • A percentage of farmers will also be requested to return their record books and documents to the Department for examination to confirm compliance – cooperation with such requests is a condition of participation in the scheme.