€2 Million Boost For Donegal Sheep Farmers

3,153 Donegal sheep farmers to benefit under the Sheep Welfare Scheme.

Donegal’s strong tradition in sheep farming will be paying off shortly as over 3,000 farmers in this sector are about to receive a cash boost.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and local Donegal TD, Charlie McConalogue, today announced the commencement of advance payments under Year 6 of the Sheep Welfare Scheme.

“I am 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.

Donegal’s sheep farmers are to get a €2 million cash boost.

“This includes over €2m in payments to 3,153 Donegal farmers. Donegal received the highest amount under this payment run which represents the strong tradition of sheep farming in Donegal.

“These payments reflect the change to the reference year I introduced last year to ensure that 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.”

He added 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.

“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.”

Minister McConalogue also revealed 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,” he said.

The Minister also urged any farmers with outstanding queries to respond to the department immediately in order to facilitate payment.

(Source – Donegal Democrat – Donegal Live – Agriculture – Staff Reporter – 15/11/2022)

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