2020 Sheep and Goat Census can still be completed online

Farmers have been reminded that, while the deadline of postal forms has now closed, 2020 Sheep and Goat Census submissions can still be made online.

In a statement today (Tuesday, February 2), the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine confirmed that the closing date for receipt of completed 2020 census forms returned by post was yesterday (Monday, February 1, 2021).

However, an extended deadline to February 15, 2021, applies for receipt of online returns only, the department highlighted.

Online submission of sheep and goat census information is straight-forward and can be done via: www.agfood.ie.

Noting that the online system provides confirmation when a census submission has been submitted successfully, a spokesperson for the department added:

“Farmers who are not already registered for online services can do so by logging onto: www.agfood.ie and clicking the option to register.

“As log-in details are issued by post, farmers using the system for the first time should register immediately to allow sufficient time for their log-on details to reach them at their registered address.”

A guide to the submission of census data online via agfood.ie is provided on the back of the census forms that issued to keepers in mid-December 2020.

Where keepers have additional questions in relation to the use of the online system, they can phone the department on: 0761-064407 for assistance.

The department highlighted that the completion and return of the Annual Sheep and/or Goat Census 2020 form is a legal obligation on the keeper. Failure to return a completed form on time may impact on eligibility for certain schemes.

The onus is on the flock/herd keeper to make sure that completed census forms are returned on time. In respect of postal return, the only acceptable proof of postage is a receipt of registered post.

Keepers are reminded that they must also record the census information returned to the department in their flock registers.

Online submission of the 2020 census will remain an option after the extended closing date for online returns (February 15, 2021).

However, it should be stressed that online submission of 2020 census data after that date will be considered to be late and may have implications for eligibility to certain Department of Agriculture schemes.

Submission of a completed census is central in declaring that required stocking rates are being maintained and facilitates the drawing down of payments under schemes such as the Sheep Welfare Scheme, Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) Scheme, Agri Environment Options Scheme (AEOS), the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS), etc.

Failure to return the census on time may impact payments under these schemes and also other future related payments, the department warned.