A farm organisation has called on all political parties to commit to a “new and significantly improved” Sheep Welfare Scheme that would see a “doubling” of the financial benefit of the scheme to sheep farmers.
ICSA sheep chair, Sean McNamara, said: “2019 was a very tough year for sheep farmers and our losses were not compensated in any way. The sheep sector cannot be a political afterthought.”
Mr McNamara made his comments following the fourth and final year of the Sheep Welfare Scheme in its current format.
“The scheme has worked well, so the basis is there for a new and improved version, and for it to deliver significantly higher payments.”
“ICSA believes that higher rates of payment can be facilitated through “bolt-on mechanisms” to the scheme, which would see sheep farmers rewarded for undertaking additional tasks.
“What we need to see now is a genuine political commitment to ensure the viability of the sector,” McNamara concluded.