The IFA has called on the government to provide €30/ewe to sheep farmers in the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Its sheep chairman, Sean Dennehy, believes that this is a “key” priority for the sector.
He spoke following a meeting of the farm group’s sheep committee earlier this week.
€30/ewe to sheep farmers
Dennehy stated that the meeting “affirmed” the importance of this measure to underpin the viability of sheep farmers.
He said the scheme must have a funding allocation of approximately €78m to deliver €30/ewe to all participants.
“The current proposal lacks the ambition to provide the opportunity for participants to generate €30/ewe and must be amended through increased/updated costings and additional practical and beneficial measures.”
Dennehy said the reference period must reflect the “actual levels of activity” on farms.
He highlighted that new entrants to the sector must be allowed time to establish their flocks while participating in the scheme and have this recognised in the reference numbers.
The IFA sheep committee has also included a proposal to include shearing as an action in the scheme.
“Shearing has become a very expensive practice for sheep farmers due to the collapse in the wool market.”
“This is a critical animal health and welfare measure, which is ideally placed for inclusion in the sheep scheme.”
The farm group believes including this measure in the sheep scheme will:
- Support farmers in a vulnerable sector and ensure best practice is followed in parasite control and the flock’s overall health and welfare;
- Ensure wool, a natural product with many environmentally sustainable uses, is presented from farms in optimum condition for further use.
Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme
The committee believes the DAfM must being a Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme participant as an eligibility requirement.
In concluding, he said: “Quality Assurance is a market requirement which should be rewarded from the marketplace.”
“It is not appropriate as a requirement for eligibility in the proposed scheme,” he stressed.
The committee also said the new agri-environmental scheme must deliver a payment to the tune of €10,000 to sheep farmers.