The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has commenced issuing payments under Year 5 of the Sheep Welfare Scheme.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue made the announcement earlier today (Friday, November 26th).
Sheep scheme payments
In a statement, he confirmed the DAFM will pay almost €16 million is to some 18,000 Sheep Welfare Scheme participants.
“These payments reflect the change to the reference year, bringing the reference year to the higher of either the farmers’ existing reference number or their 2017 sheep census return. “
“For those who joined as new entrants, the reference year is being updated to 2019.”
“The change to the reference year better reflects the level of activity on participants’ farms given the passage of time since the introduction of the scheme in 2016.”
He said it would mean an increased payment for 11,500 farmers under the scheme.
“No one will see their payment being reduced because of this change.“
He said the following changes reflect his and the government’s commitment to the long-term viability of the sheep sector:
- Extending the scheme into 2022;
- The change to the reference year.
McConalogue said the advance payments at a rate of 85% of the full annual payment are an “important” support to sheep farmers in delivering key welfare actions.
He added they provide a financial boost to individual farmers and the wider rural economy.
The DAFM will issue balancing payments for the scheme in the second quarter of 2022.
The minister has also confirmed funding for an additional year of the Sheep Welfare Scheme, which will open in February 2022.
“As in previous years, there will be an opportunity for new entrants to sheep farming to join the scheme.”
The minister urged any farmers with outstanding queries to respond to the DAFM immediately to facilitate payment.