The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has reminded farmers that the deadline to return sheep and goat census forms by post falls next week.

Last month, the DAFM issued the census forms to 48,000 farmers across the country.

Similar to previous years, the department chose December 31, as the 2022 census date.


The department is encouraging census data to be returned online through, which provides confirmation when the information has been submitted successfully.

However, if farmers prefer to avail of the option of a postal return, the completed forms must arrive at the address printed on the envelope provided with the census form no later than Tuesday, January 31, 2023.

According to the department, in the event of dispute regarding postal returns, the only acceptable proof of postage is a registered post receipt.

The extended deadline of February 14, 2023 applies to online returns only.

A step-by-step guide to completing the document online is provided on the back of the 2022 census form.

Keepers who are not already registered online can do so by logging on to and clicking the option to ‘register’.

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The department has reminded all farmers that completing and returning the forms is a legal obligation.

Failing to complete the document or late submissions could result in farmers being ineligible for certain DAFM schemes.

The information provided by farmers is used as part of farm and flock inspections.

The census is an important way for farmers to declare that required stocking rates are being maintained.

This facilitates the drawing down of payments under schemes such as the Sheep Improvement Scheme (SIS), Basic Payment Scheme (BPD), Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme (ANC), the Agri Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) and the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS).

The census provides valuable statistical information to the department and other organisations involved in the development of the industry.

The information must also be recorded on a farmer’s flock register