The Agriculture Minister has announced the commencement of advance payments under Year 5 of the Sheep Welfare Scheme.
Almost €16 million is now being paid to some 18,000 farmers participating in the Sheep Welfare Scheme.
In a statement Minister Charlie McConalogue says these payments reflect the change to the reference year, bringing it to the higher of either the farmers’ existing reference number or their 2017 sheep census return.
For those who joined as new entrants the reference year is being updated to 2019.
The Minister says the change to the reference year better reflects the level of activity on participants’ farms given the passage of time since the introduction of the scheme in 2016.
It will mean an increased payment for 11,500 farmers under the scheme and no-one will see their payment being reduced because of this change.
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 2022.