Last chance for farmers to apply to the Sheep Welfare Scheme

The deadline for applications to the €25m Sheep Welfare Scheme closes tomorrow, January 31, despite calls by the IFA to extend the deadline.

Farmers accepted into the scheme will be provided with a payment of €10/ewe, as long as they comply with the terms and conditions.

It is hoped the scheme will make a positive contribution to sheep welfare with particular regard to the production system and the environment in which Irish sheep production takes place.

Sheep farmers with breeding ewes can apply for payment based on two actions they choose from a menu to undertake, depending on their flock type.

Farmers who are accepted into the scheme must choose one option from each category.

Sheep-welfare-graph

*Hill flocks may not choose both mineral supplementation of lambs and meal feeding of lambs post weaning.

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.

Calls to extend the deadline

The IFA National Sheep Chairman John Lynskey recently 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.

An extension would provide an opportunity to maximise the number of applicants into a positive sheep scheme that is worth up to €1,300 to the average flock owner, he said.

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

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.

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