Key details of new €10/ewe sheep scheme revealed

New details of a proposed new sheep scheme currently under consideration by the Department of Agriculture has been revealed by the IFA.

Farm organisations and the Department are currently in negotiations over the shape of the new scheme.

IFA has met with the Department of Agriculture and the Minister for Agriculture on the terms of the new scheme, and set out some basic criteria and the approach it says that needs to be adopted. IFA says is clear that the scheme must be simple and effective with minimal costs and bureaucracy on farmers.

Today, the IFA revealed some of the options for the scheme which are currently being considered.

The details of the scheme must be worked out in advance of the deadline for submission to Brussels on July 30.

Options under consideration

According to the IFA, the scheme will be available to all sheep farmers with breeding ewes. It says at 2.5m ewes in the country, this will mean a payment of €10 per ewe.

Payments will be made for both lowland and hill sheep.

The IFA says the option currently under consideration is to structure the scheme under the Animal Welfare heading in the RDP.

It is envisioned that farmers would have a list of options to choose from on welfare related tasks, and would choose 2-3 options which best suit their enterprises.

The IFA says some of the options being considered include:

  • Foot rot control
  • Scab control
  • Worm control
  • Vaccination
  • Specialist management and husbandry measure for the hills

IFA says it has rejected proposals from the lamb processors that the scheme should be linked to EID. It says this would impose additional and unnecessary costs on farmers and it is not part of the RDP.

Won’t be money for Jam, says Minister

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed in an interview with Agriland recently said that the Department will have to get something back from sheep farmers to ensure the scheme gets approval at EU level.

“It’s not money for jam and I know the sheep industry out there know that.

“I don’t want to be prescriptive about what we will have to get. It will have to cut the mustard at European level. I think the industry realistically knows that too,” he said.

However, the Minister did confirm that the new scheme will represent a considerable increase on old Grassland Sheep scheme.

The Grassland Sheep Scheme ran from 2010 until final payments in 2015. Over the course of the scheme, almost €62m net was paid to sheep farmers with an average payment of €15m per year.