Following a recent meeting of the IFA National Sheep Committee, Chairman John Lynskey said the estimated €5m underspend from the Sheep Welfare Scheme must be fully protected for the sheep sector.
He said the figures indicate that some 22,500 sheep farmers applied on approximately 2 million ewes under the new Sheep Welfare Scheme. This would cost about €20m per annum, leaving an additional €5m unallocated. He said, “IFA worked hard to secure the €25m funding for the sheep sector, and it is essential that the remaining €5m is retained for the sector.”
John Lynskey said the IFA National Sheep Committee is considering a number of possible options for the €5m and has already been in contact with senior officials in the Department of Agriculture on the matter. He said IFA will consult widely with sheep producers through our branches and county executive structure.
The IFA Sheep Chairman said the Sheep Welfare Sheme is proceeding well and producers are undertaking the various options/tasks that they have chosen. He said this is on-going and it is important that applicants record the necessary details and maintain the records following undertaking the tasks.
John Lynskey said sheep farming is a major enterprise on Irish farms with over 30,000 producers, 2.5m breeding ewes and an output of over 61,000 tonnes. He said Ireland export 50,000t per year with the main markets being France and the UK. He added the total output value for the sheep sector exceeds €320m.