The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has today (Tuesday, November 22) announced that farmers can now apply for the new Sheep Improvement Scheme (SIS).

The €20 million scheme will replace the current Sheep Welfare Scheme (SWS) in 2023 under the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Payments under the scheme will be at a rate of €12 per eligible breeding ewe, which is an increase from the €10 per eligible breeding ewe under the SWS.

Applications for the scheme can be made online by the farmer or by a Farm Advisory System (FAS) approved advisor via the application facility on

The closing date for the submission of applications is midnight on Monday, December 19, 2022.

The measures under the SIS are largely similar to the SWS, with the exception that both lowland and hill flock owners will have to buy genotyped rams at least once over the course of the new scheme.

Commenting on the official launch the new scheme, Minister McConalogue said: “I am excited to see this new scheme rollout with the aim of providing an important income support for sheep farmers as well as building on the progress under the Sheep Welfare Scheme in the 2014-2022 Rural Development Programme (RDP).

“The Sheep Improvement Scheme, which forms part of Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan for the period 2023-2027, has been designed to support farmers to undertake actions that improve animal welfare in the sheep sector.

“These payments are an important support to sheep farmers in the delivery of key welfare actions.

“I am confident that the new €20 million Sheep Improvement Scheme will be a success for farmers as well as driving further improvements in the flock,” the minister concluded.