500 farmers appeal ewe reference number for sheep scheme

Almost 500 farmers have lodged an appeal with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine regarding their reference number of ewes for the Sheep Welfare Scheme.

These appeals are currently under consideration, the department revealed to AgriLand.

The department also confirmed that successful applicants to the scheme should receive a 75% advance payment towards the end of this year; balancing payments are expected to be issued in spring 2018.

A total of 22,174 farmers applied to the scheme before the deadline of February 3, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

The scheme – which was launched in mid-December last year – has a total allocation of €25 million, Minister Creed said.

The total number of eligible animals in the applications received is 2,028,278. This figure is subject to change because there are a number of appeals in relation to applicants’ reference numbers of animals.

“These cases are currently under consideration by my department. Payments are due to issue for this scheme later this year. Payment is set at a rate of €10 per breeding ewe,” he said.

Minister Creed was responding to a number of questions about the scheme from Fianna Fail’s Spokesperson on Agriculture, Deputy Charlie McConalogue.

Applicants must choose one action from Category A and one action from Category B – as appropriate to their flock type – from the table listed below, as part of the scheme.

Hill flocks may not choose both mineral supplementation of lambs and meal feeding of lambs post-weaning.

Withdrawals from the scheme

The scheme had originally been scheduled to close for applications on January 30; it was extended until February 3 in an effort to encourage as many farmers as possible to apply.

In the intervening period, the latest figures from the department show that there has been almost 100 farmers who have withdrawn from the scheme.

In total, 98 farmers have withdrawn their applications. Some 67 of these were lowland farmers, while the remaining 31 were hill farmers.

The highest number of withdrawals per county was seen in counties Donegal and Galway; 13 sheep farmers from each county withdrew their application.