Time is running out fast for farmers to complete their sheep and goat census forms for 2020.

The forms can be completed either by post or online. The closing date for the paper-based forms is this coming Monday, February 1, 2021.

Meanwhile, the deadline for the online submission of 2020 sheep and goat census data is Monday, February 15, 2021.

Failure to return a completed form on time could impact on eligibility for some Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) schemes.

Online submission of census returns can be done via: www.agfood.ie, according to the department. The online system provides confirmation when a census submission has been completed successfully.

Farmers who are not registered for online services can do so by logging on to: 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 in time.

The benefits of using the online census facility include:

  • Ability to view census history;
  • Peace of mind that 2020 census details have been submitted successfully, to ensure compliance with any scheme requirements;
  • No additional inconvenience or costs associated with registering a postal return;
  • Sheep keepers registered for online services can order books of sheep dispatch/movement documents on-line through the Animal Identification and Movements (AIM) system.

The completion and return of the annual forms is a legal obligation on the keeper, and the onus is on the flock/herd keeper to make sure that completed census forms being returned by post are received on time.