New €10 Per Ewe Scheme Must Be Simple And Effective For Sheep Farmers – IFA

IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman John Lynskey said it is essential that the new sheep scheme is simple and effective in supporting the sheep sector. He said the payment, which should amount to approximately €10 per ewe, must be available to all sheep farmers with breeding ewes and involve minimal expense, costs or bureaucracy on farmers.

 

John Lynskey said the IFA met with the Department of Agriculture to discuss details and plans for the new sheep support scheme last week. He said the critical issue is that the Department has to submit proposals for the new scheme to the EU Commission as part of the RDP amendments by June 30th.

 

John Lynskey said that following an intensive campaign in the lead up to the General Election, IFA had secured €25m additional funding for a new targeted sheep support scheme from the Rural Development budget.

 

In order to accommodate the maximum number of sheep farmers, John Lynskey said the scheme needs to provide flexibility with a number of options where farmers can select those that suit their enterprise best in order to draw down the funding. He said animal welfare is the main area and some of the options being considered by the Department of Agriculture include scanning, foot bathing, control of fly strike, worm control and resistance, and others.

 

John Lynskey said under the Rural Development Programme, schemes have to meet various criteria under the regulations including costings. Under the welfare option, a payment can be made on a per animal basis. IFA is strongly in favour of targeting the payment on a per ewe basis.

 

The IFA Sheep Chairman said it is critical that the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and his Department fully takes on board the views of farmers in designing the new scheme. They must   ensure that it is simple, effective, with minimal costs on farmers and that it has a positive impact for the sheep sector.

 

He said suggestions from the meat processors that it should be linked to EID are not acceptable as that will only impose additional and unnecessary cost on farmers, and it is not part of the Rural Development Programme. In addition, he said the EU Commission have made it clear to IFA, as part of the Sheep Reflection Group work in Brussels, that the derogation for lambs direct to slaughter will continue to be available.

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