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Opinion: €12/ewe is an insult to farmers

In this article, ICSA sheep chair, Sean McNamara, shares his thoughts on the new €12/ewe Sheep Improvement Scheme.

The €12 on offer through the new Sheep Improvement Scheme is woefully inadequate and an insult to sheep farmers.

CAP payments are supposed to support farmers, not make a mockery of them.

€12 per breeding ewe is an insult in this day and age – particularly now as we are watching our costs rise on an almost daily basis.

During the CAP negotiations, ICSA demonstrated how a €35/head ewe payment was possible through a combination of a coupled payment and better financing of the sheep scheme.

The minister failed sheep farmers then, and he failed them again when he delivered no targeted supports for sheep farmers in the budget. It is just not good enough.”

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I am reiterating my call on Minister McConalogue to convene a meeting of the Sheep Vision group as soon as possible to examine what is going on in markets and what the outlook is.

Sheep farmers have yet to get a look in at the Food Vision Beef and Sheep group, which again reflects the lack of respect and attention given to the sector.

All the while, individual sheep farmers are becoming less and less economically viable and cannot see a way to stay going.

This is a real shame for a sector that has a lot to offer in terms of their less intensive, biodiversity-friendly systems of farming and their low carbon stamp.

It is very short-sighted not to incentivise sheep farmers to keep doing what they are doing rather than switch to a system of farming that may be more profitable but ultimately less environmentally sustainable.

Sheep scheme

Earlier this week, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, announced the launch of the new Sheep Improvement Scheme.

The scheme aims the “build on progress” under the Sheep Welfare Scheme (SWS) in the 2014-2022 Rural Development Programme (RDP).

According to the DAFM, it has designed the scheme to support farmers to undertake actions that improve animal welfare in the sheep sector.

Read more on this news article

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