Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Donegal T.D., Charlie McConalogue has announced the commencement of advance payments under Year 6 of the Sheep Welfare Scheme.
The Minister said he was pleased to announce that a total of €15.5 million has commenced issuing to some 17,500 farmers participating in the Sheep Welfare Scheme nationally.
This includes over €2 million in payments to 3,153 Donegal farmers.
“These payments reflect the change to the reference year which I introduced last year to ensure that the reference year better reflects the level of activity on participant’s farms given the passage of time since the introduction of the scheme in 2016.
“The extension of the scheme over the previous two years and the change to the reference year reflects the commitment of the Government to the sheep sector in Ireland,” he said.
The Minister said these advance payments at a rate of 85% of the full annual payment are an important support to sheep farmers in the delivery of key welfare actions and provides a financial boost to the individual farmers and the wider rural economy.
“The balancing payments for the scheme will issue in the second quarter of 2023,” he said.
The Minister further noted that this is the final year of the Sheep Welfare Scheme, which was introduced in December 2016.
“Later this year, I will be launching the successor to this scheme, the Sheep Improvement Scheme (SIS), which will also be aimed at sheep farmers with breeding ewes.
“The SIS will build on the progress made by the Sheep Welfare Scheme by providing support for actions that improve animal health and welfare in the sheep sector.
“The introduction of this scheme will further demonstrate the continuing commitment of this Government to the sheep sector for the coming years.”
In concluding, the Minister urged any farmers with outstanding queries to respond to the Department immediately in order to facilitate payment.