The deadline for the Sheep Welfare Scheme, which was originally planned for today, has been pushed back till February 3rd.
There have been widespread calls to extend the deadline over the past few weeks, particularly from the IFA. Now it appears that the pleas for more time have been recognised, as Minister Creed has announced a welcome, albeit short, extension.
Sheep farmers have until Friday, February 3rd to return applications for the new sheep scheme, worth €10 per ewe following the extension of the closing date.
The €25m scheme secured by IFA will provide €10 per ewe to farmers for undertaking actions to make a positive contribution to flock welfare.
Application forms have been issued to all sheep farmers and must be returned by Friday, February 3rd either by post or email.
How the scheme works
According to the IFA, 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.
Payment is €10 per breeding ewe. The number of allowable ewes for each participant will be calculated as the average number of ewes in their 2014 and 2015 sheep census.
The farmer is required to maintain the reference number of ewes which will form part of the inspection process.
There is provision for new entrants to join where they do not have 2014/15 ewe numbers on which to base a reference number. A new entrant to this scheme is defined as an applicant who has applied for a new herd number from 1st January 2016 and before the closing date of the scheme in 2017 or an applicant with an existing herd number who has not held or traded in sheep for a two year period up to 31st October preceding the scheme year.