Cathoirleach of South and West Sligo Municipal District Cllr Dara Mulvey, pictured,
is highlighting the two public information events for farmers on the new €25m Sheep Welfare Scheme as recently announced by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD.
The new Sheep Welfare Scheme will provides funding of up to €25 million for Irish sheep farmers in 2017.
The scheme has been introduced in January as part of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme having been agreed with the European Commission.
Speaking at the launch of the scheme , Minister Creed said “I am delighted to launch the new Sheep Welfare Scheme and to be investing €25m into Irish sheep farming this year. This scheme also reflects the commitment of this Government to the sheep sector in Ireland and will make an important contribution to the sustainability of this sector. The sector makes an important contribution to the Agri-Food economy generating an output value of €320 million and exporting in excess of €230 million in 2015. It supports 34,000 farm families directly in addition to providing several thousand jobs indirectly in rural areas.”
On the detail of the scheme, the Minister said: “this scheme provides support of €10 per ewe to farmers for undertaking actions which make a positive contribution to flock welfare. In designing the scheme I was conscious that this scheme would take into account the different challenges faced by sheep farmers in lowland and in hill areas and I believe we have successfully struck this balance. The end result is a reflection of extensive consultation with a range of stakeholders, particularly farm organisations, carried out by my Department over the last few months, in addition to intensive discussions with the European Commission.”
Under the scheme farmers will be required to choose actions which can improve the overall welfare of a flock. These actions will be chosen from a menu from which farmers must choose two actions. based on whether the farmer has a lowland flock or hill flock. These actions must be completed over a 12 month period. In return the farmer will receive a payment of €10 per breeding ewe, depending on the average number of ewes held on their farm in the years 2014 and 2015.
Concluding the Minister said “We are now moving to the implementation phase of this scheme and my Department will shortly issue an application form and the terms and condition, to all sheep farmers. I would urge all farmers to study this information carefully and to note that the deadline for applying for the scheme will be the 31st January 2017.
To assist farmers my Department will be running a series of information meetings around the country in January where they can find out all the necessary information on the scheme”.
The first meeting regionally is on Monday 16th January
in The Breaffy House Hotel, Castlebar, Co.Mayo.
In Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim
the meeting will take place in The Landmark Hotel on Thursday 19th January.
Both meetings will get underway at 8pm