The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has issued annual sheep and goat census forms to over 48,000 sheep and goat keepers.
It has selected Friday, December 31st as the 2021 census date in keeping with previous years.
The DAFM said that the sheep and goat censuses provide “valuable” statistical information to organisations involved in developing the industry.
For individual farmers, submission of a completed census is “central” in declaring that required stocking rates are being maintained and facilitates the drawing down of payments under schemes such as the Sheep Welfare Scheme, Basic Payment Scheme, Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme, AEOS, GLAS etc.
The DAFM further uses census information during farm/flock inspections where the inspector has details of the census returns submitted for the holding in the last number of years.
It uses this information as the basis for identifying whether animal records have been “adequately maintained” through the keeper’s flock register.
Minister McConalogue thanked sheep and goat keepers for their ongoing engagement with the census process.
He reported that response rates of some 90% are “generally achieved”. Furthermore, he said he “looks forward” to “similar” engagement with the 2021 processes.
How to submit your goat and sheep census forms
The DAFM stressed keepers should be aware that completion and return of the census is a legal obligation.
Keepers are also required to record the census data on their flock registers.
A failure to return a completed form on time could impact eligibility for certain Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine schemes.
Furthermore, the department encourages all keepers to return their census data online via Agfood.
Meanwhile, on the other hand, while it accepts postal returns, the cut-off date for submission is January 31st, 2022.
Completed forms returned by post must arrive at the address printed on the envelope provided with the census form no later than January 31st, 2022.
It is not permitted to submit forms by post through any office of the department.
An extended deadline of 14th February 2022 applies to online returns only.
The DAFM highlighted the following benefits of using the online census facility include:
- An extended closing date – to February 14th, 2022 – for receipt of online census returns only;
- The facility to view census history;
- Peace of mind that 2021 census details have been submitted successfully;
- No additional inconvenience or costs associated with registering a postal return.
- Sheep keepers registered for online services can order books of sheep dispatch/movement documents online through the AIM system.
Register for AgFood
Keepers, who are not already registered on www.agfood.ie, can do so by logging on to www.agfood.ie and clicking the option to ‘Register’.
Keepers intending to use agfood.ie for the first time should start the registration process early to ensure that they receive their log-in details in time to submit their census information online by February 14th, 2022.
In summary: Deadlines for submissions:
- January 31st, 2022: For paper-based census forms;
- February 14th, 2022: Online census forms.
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