Approximately 20,000 sheep farmers will benefit from an 85% advancement (€16 million total) in Sheep Welfare Payments commencing on time this week to all eligible farmers.
The news was announced today by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed. The Sheep Welfare Scheme was launched By Minister Creed in December 2016 and is co-funded by the European Union as part of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme, 2014-2020.
It provides support of €10 per ewe to farmers for undertaking actions which make a positive contribution to flock welfare.
Under the scheme farmers were required to choose actions which would improve the overall welfare of a flock. Farmers chose two actions from a menu of actions based on whether the farmer had a lowland flock or hill flock.
Minister Creed said these payments will provide a “significant financial boost to the individual farmers and the sheep sector in general”.
“The scheme, which was a key commitment in the Programme for Partnership Government, reflects the commitment of the Government to the sheep sector in Ireland, and will make an important contribution to the sustainability of the sheep sector.”
Minister Creed urged any farmers with outstanding queries to respond to the Department immediately in order to facilitate payment. Advance payments will continue to issue in November as eligibility is confirmed for farmers with outstanding queries, and balancing payments are due to issue in 2018.
The Minister concluded:
“Year two of the Scheme will be opening in the coming weeks and my Department will be in contact with farmers shortly to advise them of this. At that stage, there will also be an opportunity for new entrants to the sector to join the scheme.”