IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman James Murphy has reminded sheep farmers that it was vitally important that all 30,000 of them across the country complete and return their Sheep Census forms to the Department of Agriculture immediately and before the closing date of next Monday January 9th, 2012.
James Murphy said the Sheep Census is now more important than ever and absolutely essential in terms of drawing down the Sheep Grassland payment and avoiding penalties under cross compliance on the Single Farm Payment. “The form is very easy to complete, but critically important in terms of income. Farmers should pay particular attention to completing the form correctly, as inaccuracies or errors have resulted in unnecessary losses to farmers in previous years.”
Mr Murphy said that the Department of Agriculture has confirmed to IFA that the Sheep Grassland payment worth €18m will be paid out on January 18th. He said it is essential that there are no further delays by the Department of Agriculture in paying out the money, which is due since early December 2011.
The IFA sheep farmers’ leader said 2011 was a relatively good year in terms of lamb pries with an increase in the order of 10% on 2010 levels. James Murphy said for the sheep sector to continue the recovery at farm level it is absolutely essential that lamb prices are maintained at 2011 levels. He said it is very clear that future growth in the sheep sector will be very dependent on strong lamb prices.
The IFA sheep man said market prospects for 2012 look positive with the EU forecasting continuing tight supplies, declining production and strong prices.