Tipperary farming: IFA appeals to Minister over Sheep Welfare Scheme
IFA has again formally requested the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue to provide all farmers in the Sheep Welfare Scheme the opportunity to update their reference numbers, according to IFA national sheep committee chair Sean Dennehy.
IFA has written to the Minister setting out the importance of the scheme and the need for it to accurately reflect the level of activity on participant farms.
Mr Dennehy welcomed the rollover for the transition period and providing for new entrants to the sector.
“While acknowledging the willingness of the Minister to have reference numbers for the scheme reviewed, this process lacks clearly defined criteria. It must be standardised to provide all farmers with the opportunity to have updated reference numbers established in a straight-forward manner,” he said.
The rigid adherence of the Terms and Conditions of the scheme to the reference numbers established in 2014 and 2015 had effectively reduced the level of support available to sheep farmers, he said.
He said the constraints of the historic reference period had meant that progressive sheep farmers, who were the future of the sector, were penalised with low numbers of eligible sheep.
“IFA wants all farmers in the scheme to be provided with the opportunity to have their reference numbers brought up to date to reflect the level of activity in a straight-forward process,” he said.
He said this was a critical amendment to the scheme.