Making the application
Approval for the inclusion in the scheme is determined on the applicant's ability to meet eligibility and selection criteria.
The eligibility criteria are straightforward in that you either meet the criteria or not.
Selection criteria on the other hand are more complex. These work on a points scale as detailed in Table 1, with the number of marks accumulated under the different categories influencing what applications are prioritised for approval.
To gain entry to the scheme, flockowners must meet the following requirements:
•Own or have leasehold title to the site where the development is proposed to take place.
Minimum of 5ha which has been declared under SFP in current or preceding year.
Agree to provide bank/credit union details for electronic payment of funds.
Have between 10 and 200 production units in total and a minimum of 50 ewes at the time of application. For Teagasc production partnership, the maximum units should be multiplied by the number of partners).
If approval has been given for works under the Farm Improvement Scheme, the same items cannot be claimed for grant aid again except for sheep fencing and mobile batch footbaths.
•Size of breeding flock;
Percentage of productionunits derived from sheep;
The proposed cost of theproject by the applicant as set out in the application form. For this purpose, applicants will be given preference where the proposed costs are lower than the Department's reference costs;
Age of applicant (priority will be afforded to farmers who are between 18 and 35 years of age on the date of application);
Participant in a Sheep Ireland sheep breed improvement programme at the time of application;
Priority to applicants where any part of the holding that is owned or leased in a less favoured area.
Leased land is eligible for grant aid provided certain conditions are met. Firstly, the lease must run from five years from the date of approval and not the date of application.
If the lease expires within five years of a planned approval date, the letter of approval for grant aid will not be issued until written evidence is provided that the lease has been extended.
The lease must also be stamped by the Revenue Commissioners, except in a case where the lease is to a spouse.
In addition to the application form, there are a number of requirements that must be satisfied in respect to sheep fencing.
1) Planning permission
In certain circumstances, planning permission may be required for the proposed erection of sheep fencing in high value landscape areas.
This includes sheep fencing in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), a National Heritage Area (NHA), a Special Protection Area (SPA), a Natura 2000 habitat or any upland or seaside area that has not been previously fenced or enclosed.
Full and final planning permission and conditions, where applicable, need to be received before making an application for grant aid.
2) Site location map
This is to be submitted in discovery series with a scale of 1:50,000 and showing the location of the site or sites.
3) Farm/field layout plan (copy or example of map to go with page if needed)
The farm/field layout plan is required at a scale of 1:5,000 or, alternatively, a Single Farm Payment scheme application map can be submitted. The plans require LPIS numbers, identifying the parcels where the proposed fencing is to take place and also the location and length of all proposed fencing.
The type of fencing (see page 3) is also required to be indicated.
4) Planning permission drawings
Where applicable, copies of drawings on which planning permission was obtained have to be furnished with the application.