The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) National Sheep Committee chairman Sean Dennehy has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue of the payment of the Sheep Welfare Scheme to 18,200 farmers.

The funding of €14.7 million is an advance of 85%, and the remaining 15% payment will be paid in 2021.

Dennehy has also welcomed today’s (Tuesday, November 17) that the scheme will run again next year: “This provides new entrants with the opportunity to join the scheme, which is something IFA has campaigned for,” he said.

He added that the current reference years “don’t reflect the flock numbers on many sheep farms”.

This has to be updated if we want to encourage generational renewal on sheep farms in the country.

Minister McConalogue said that the additional year of the scheme will be opening in February 2021, and there will be an opportunity for new entrants to the sector to join the scheme.

The minister urged any farmers with outstanding queries with the department to respond immediately in order to facilitate payment.

Beef Finishers Payment

In related news, payments under the Beef Finishers Payment (BFP) are set to begin issuing this week, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has said.

IFA President Tim Cullinan welcomed the development that payments will begin going out to farmers under the €50 million scheme.

The funding was allocated for the scheme in June to compensate beef farmers for losses arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.