The Department of Agriculture has begun issuing balancing payments to the 18,100 farmers eligible for payment under the 2021 Sheep Welfare Scheme.

This round of payments represents the final 15% of scheme funds due to farmers, equating to approximately €2m of the 2021 scheme’s €18m allocation.

The first round of advance payments began last November.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue stated the co-financed scheme’s continuation into 2022 was reflective of the Government’s commitment to sheep farming.

“The increased budget for the scheme secured in Budget 2022 reflects the commitment of both myself and the Government to sheep farmers throughout Ireland,” said Minister McConalogue.

“The payments issuing today reflect the change to the reference year, bringing the reference year to the higher of farmers’ existing reference number or their 2017 (2019 for new entrants) census return.

“The Sheep Welfare Scheme is a key component in meeting my Department’s goal of promoting and safeguarding animal health and welfare for the benefit of consumers, producers, the economy and wider society, as set out in the Department’s Statement of Strategy 2021-2024,” the minister concluded.

Farmers with outstanding queries or documentation requests have been asked to make contact with the Department to facilitate the prompt issuing of payments to all eligible scheme participants.