The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has commenced issuing 15% balancing payments to all eligible farmers under year 6 (2022) of the Sheep Welfare Scheme.
The rollout of these balancing payments brings the total amount paid to over 17,500 farmers under the €10/breeding ewe Sheep Welfare Scheme for 2022 to €17.3 million.
The DAFM issued 85% advance payment to eligible farmers in the scheme, which was introduced in December 2016, in November 2022.
It has urged any farmers with outstanding queries to respond to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine immediately to facilitate payment.
Minister McConalogue has confirmed that the department will continue to issue payments on an ongoing basis as outstanding queries are resolved.
Sheep Improvement Scheme
The successor scheme to the Sheep Welfare Scheme is now in place, and began on February 1st, 2023.
Over 19,000 farmers are participating in the Sheep Improvement Scheme, which carries a payment rate of €12/breeding ewe for welfare measures.
The first year of the scheme runs from February 1st, 2023, to December 31st, 2023, and “build on progress” under the Sheep Welfare Scheme (SWS) in the 2014-2022 Rural Development Programme (RDP).
According to the DAFM, it has been designed to support farmers in undertaking actions that improve animal welfare in the sheep sector.
The scheme will be a one-year contract with automatic renewal unless a farmer or the DAFM triggers the opt-out option.
The main difference between the programme is that all farmers will have to carry out the genotyped ram action at least once during the scheme’s lifetime.
Farmers complete two actions, which fall into category A, which carries a payment of €7.00 and category B, which they will receive €5.00 under.
In this farming news article on That’s Farming, we looked at the ins and outs of the new sheep scheme.