IFA National Sheep Chairman James Murphy this week welcomed the pay-out of the Sheep Grassland scheme to over 26,000 flock owners. He said the Sheep Grassland scheme is worth €14m p.a. to the sheep sector and an essential element of farm income.
James Murphy said IFA had undertaken a massive campaign in 2009 and 2010 to secure funding for the sheep grassland payment from unused CAP funds and it was a very successful and simple scheme to administer. He said payment will be based on the average number of ewes submitted on the farmers’ census forms for 2011 and 2012.
The IFA sheep farmers’ leader said it is essential that Minister Coveney delivers a strong targeted sheep payment in the CAP implementation set to be announced by Government in the next week. He said the Minister must build on the successful sheep grassland payment model and utilise available funds from Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 together with unused CAP funds and national supports to put in place a strong ewe payment going forward.
James Murphy said IFA has campaigned successfully and secured the sheep grassland payment for 2014 with an increase in the budget to €15m. However the real challenge for Minister Coveney is to deliver a strong sheep payment from 2015 as part of the new CAP implementation.
In addition the National Sheep Chairman said Minister Coveney and the Government must deliver 50:50 co funding of the CAP Rural Development Plan from 2014. He said this is essential to properly fund the Disadvantaged Areas scheme and a strong environmental scheme going forward. He said these schemes are essential for the low income sheep sector.