ICSA sheep chairman John Brooks has welcomed the advance payment of €15.1 million made to 18,600 sheep farmers under year two of the Sheep Welfare Scheme. Commenting, Mr Brooks said, “The advance payment rate has been set at 85% again this year which is good news. However, given the current underspend in the Rural Development Programme, ICSA believe the time is now right to explore enhancing the Sheep Welfare Scheme.”
Referring to the more than €300m in unspent funds under the TAMS II scheme Mr Brooks said, “ICSA would like to see the sheep sector get a fair share of that underspend and while the scheme is delivering in its current format there is scope to increase payment levels. This would see sheep farmers rewarded for undertaking additional tasks.”
Mr Brooks argues the precedent has been set for this under the Beef Data & Genomics Programme (BDGP) with the addition of the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme. “A similar bolt-on action or menu of actions under the Sheep Welfare Scheme would work just as well and deliver more benefits to the sheep sector as a whole.”
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