Calls to extend the deadline for applications to the Sheep Welfare Scheme

The IFA National Sheep Chairman John Lynskey has called for the closing date for applications to the Sheep Welfare Scheme to be extended.

Lynskey has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed to push out the deadline by two weeks to February 14. 

As it stands the closing date for applications to the new €10 per ewe Sheep Welfare Scheme is scheduled as Tuesday, January 31.

Applications to the scheme are going well so far, Lynskey said, with more than 13,000 received to date.

However, he said this is a unique opportunity to maximise the number of applicants into a positive sheep scheme that is worth up to €1,300 to the average flock owner.

The IFA National Sheep Chairman believes that Minister Creed and the Department need to be targeting more than 30,000 sheep farmers and 2.5m ewes with the scheme.

The IFA worked hard and secured funding of €25m in Budget 2017 for the scheme, which is adequate to cover all sheep farmers with ewes in Ireland, he said.

Reaction to the scheme has been very positive from farmers on the ground and we need this additional timeframe to maximise applications, Lynskey said.

Both lowland and hill sheep farmers are very interested in the scheme and can see the real benefits.

“In addition the tasks and options under the scheme provide good flexibility to accommodate a large number of applicants from all areas,” he said.

He called on all sheep farmers with ewes to make an application to the scheme as soon as possible, as the IFA believes it is a unique opportunity not to be missed.

The scheme, which is proposed to run for four years, will take the average number of breeding ewes the farmer held in 2014 and 2015, as declared on the sheep census, as the eligible number of ewes for the scheme.

Details of how to apply to the scheme, as well as some frequently asked questions, can be found on the Departments website.