In excess of 6,300 applications have been received to date for the Sheep Welfare Scheme, figures from the Department of Agriculture show.

Farmers have until January 31 to apply to the scheme, which provides €10/ewe to farmers who comply with the terms and conditions of the scheme.

Earlier this week, IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman John Lynskey welcomed the statement from the Minister of Agriculture, Michael Creed, at the IFA AGM in Dublin today that he would encourage all sheep farmers with ewes to apply for the new €10 per ewe sheep welfare scheme negotiated by IFA.

Lynskey said there are strong farmer attendances at Department of Agriculture meetings on the scheme around the country and very positive interest in the scheme.

He said the IFA is strongly encouraging all sheep farmers with ewes to make an application under the scheme as soon as possible.

The Department of Agriculture has confirmed to the IFA that sheep farmers may use ewe lambs from the previous year, once they are over 12 months of age, to qualify as replacement for ewes applied on under the scheme at inspection time.

He said farmers who apply on ewes in January, may replace those ewes with ewe lambs once they reach 12 months of age, and maintain eligible numbers in the scheme.

He said, in general, this would be in the spring time following the main lambing season. Lynskey said the Department needs to adopt a flexible approach in this area, especially for farmers breeding their own replacements.

IFA meetings on the sheep scheme

Lynskey also said the IFA has organised three additional meetings on the new €10/ewe sheep scheme next week.

  • Monday, January 23, Tullamore, Co Offaly.
  • Tuesday, January 24, Bunclody, Co Wexford.
  • Thursday, January 26, Tuam Co Galway.

Inviting all sheep farmers to these meetings, he said there would be speakers from the IFA, Department of Agriculture and Bord Bia.