Balancing Sheep Welfare Scheme payments commence

It has been announced that the 15% balancing payments under the Sheep Welfare Scheme will commence this week to all eligible farmers.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, confirmed the news earlier today (April 25).

The scheme is co-funded by the European Union as part of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020.

Commenting on the payment run, the minister said: “In mid-November my department began issuing 85% advance payments under the Sheep Welfare Scheme to farmers across the country.

I am happy to confirm that the 15% balancing payments under the Sheep Welfare Scheme will now commence on schedule.

The roll-out of balancing payments brings the total paid under the scheme to almost €19 million – benefiting some 20,000 farmers, according to the department.

These payments will provide a “significant financial boost” to the individual farmers, the sheep sector in general and the wider rural economy, it added.

Continuing, Minister Creed said: “This new scheme – which I was pleased to announce in Budget 2017 – reflects the commitment of this Government to the sheep sector in Ireland.

Given the difficulties experienced by sheep farmers over the past number of months, the issuing of this new payment over the winter and spring of 2017/2018 is timely and has provided a welcome additional stream of income to sheep farmers which was not previously available.

The minister confirmed that his department is continuing to prioritise the processing of outstanding cases.

“I can confirm that every effort continues to be made to clear for payment the small percentage of outstanding cases. Regular pay runs will continue in order to process cases as quickly as possible,” he added.

Concluding, the minister urged farmers with outstanding queries to respond to the department immediately in order to facilitate payments.

These payments will continue to issue on an ongoing basis as eligibility is confirmed for farmers with outstanding queries.