The deadline to apply for the new National Sheep Welfare Scheme (NSWS) is fast approaching.

Applications for the scheme must be submitted by the closing date of 11:59p.m on Tuesday, May 21.

There is a 25-calendar day period after the May 21 closing date for the acceptance of late applications and any necessary supporting documentation.

However, deductions to payments at a rate of 1% per working day in respect of the NSWS will apply to late applications which are received during this period.

This late applications period closes on June 15, 2024.

Selecting your scheme actions:

All applicants must select one action from the list of category A actions and one action from the list of category B actions.

Source: DAFM

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has confirmed that the payment will be per eligible breeding ewe, and payment for full scheme compliance will be €8/ewe (€4/ewe/action completed).

Applicants are asked to choose their actions carefully, as once their application has been submitted, it will not be possible to change their actions over the lifetime of the scheme.

Sheep Welfare Scheme participation

The NSWS measures are additional to those in the Sheep Improvement Scheme (SIS) and must be applied for separately.

To qualify for participation in the scheme:

  • You must have an ovine active DAFM herd number;
  • You must be farming a holding in respect of which a valid 2024 Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS) application is submitted to the department, within the required application period;
  • You must have breeding ewes recorded on the national sheep census in 2023;
  • There are four actions in the scheme and applicants must complete in full two actions, one from each category. Completion of both actions are mandatory for payment.

Applicants who have not submitted a 2023 sheep census return by the February 14, 2024 deadline will not be eligible to apply for the scheme.

The scheme will run from January 1, 2024 to December 31, 2024, however actions selected must be completed by October 15, 2024.

Reductions in payment will apply where not all actions are completed.