€15 million budget for National Sheep Welfare Scheme Announced

Apr 9, 2024 | Farm Viability

Minister Charlie McConalogue T.D., from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, has announced the launch of the National Sheep Welfare Scheme (NSWS), with a budget of €15 million for the year 2024.

Participants in the NSWS will be required to undertake two actions to receive the full payment of €8 per ewe. The scheme offers four potential measures, applicable to both upland and lowland flocks, categorised as follows:

  • Category A – shearing or body condition scoring of ewes;
  • Category B – clostridial vaccination of ewes (or lambs if ewes are already vaccinated) or plunge dipping of ewes.

Farmers joining the NSWS need to specify their chosen options during the application process, selecting one from each category. The number of breeding ewes eligible for payment under the scheme will be determined based on the figures declared in the sheep census returns from 2020 to 2023. Completed actions must be documented on the Scheme Action Record Sheets provided by the department.

This newly launched scheme complements the multi-annual Sheep Improvement Scheme (SIS), funded under Ireland’s CAP Strategic Plan until 2027, which supports farmers in improving animal health and welfare on their sheep enterprises, with a budget of €100m. Last year, around 17,000 farmers received advance payments for participating in the first year of the SIS.

Applications for the scheme must be submitted by the 21st of May 2024, either by farmers themselves or by approved FAS advisors acting on their behalf, using the online portal at www.agfood.ie.

Full terms and conditions of the National Sheep Welfare Scheme, along with other relevant scheme information, can be found here.

Related Articles