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Year 6 of Sheep Welfare Scheme Open

The sixth year of the Sheep Welfare Scheme will commence on the 1st February 2022 with a budget of €19.5m. All existing participants in the scheme will be automatically enrolled in year 6 with no action required. New applicants can find out how to apply by 1st February 2022 here

The Sheep Welfare Scheme provides a valuable support to sheep farmers for undertaking actions which make a positive contribution to flock welfare. The allocation for Sheep Welfare Scheme has increased from €17m in 2021 to €19.5m in 2022 to cover the continuation of the scheme in 2022 and the change to the reference year. 

New Entrants

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., urged all eligible new entrants to the sheep sector who wish to apply to participate in the scheme to return their forms by 1st February 2022.

For the purposes of the scheme, a new entrant to sheep farming is defined as:

  • an applicant who has applied for a new herd number in the period 1st January to the 31st December in the year preceding the scheme year, or
  • an applicant with an existing herd number who has not held or traded in sheep for a two-year period up to 31st October preceding the scheme year.

For new entrant applicatants in Year 6 of the scheme the reference number will be based on the number of breeding ewes returned on their most recent census. 

Payment will be per breeding eligible ewe and payment for full scheme compliance will be €10 per ewe.

Application forms are available by contacting the Sheep Welfare Scheme section of the Department by email at sheepscheme@agriculture.gov.ie or by phone on 057-8674422.

Scheme Actions

The Sheep Welfare Scheme will contribute to improved sheep welfare through targeted intervention actions in the areas listed in the table below.

Applicants must choose one action from Category A and one action from Category B as detailed in the Table below, appropriate to their Flock Type (Lowland or Hill) by ticking the appropriate boxes beside each option in the application form. The various action Categories and choices are as follows -

It is not possible to change actions once chosen. All actions must be recorded in the Scheme Action Record Book and all invoices, receipts and supporting documents must be retained.

Opting out of the Scheme

Should a participant not wish to remain in year 6 of the scheme they should advise the Department in writing of this as soon as possible. Please note that should an applicant opt-out of the scheme, it will not be possible to rejoin the scheme.

To see the full Terms & Conditions of the Scheme see SHEEP WELFARE SCHEME Year 6 Terms and Conditions (pdf)

Sheep Census Reminder

Postal returns for the Sheep Census must be returned to the Department by Monday, 31st January 2022.  The closing date for submission of online Sheep Census returns is Monday, 14th February 2022.

Find more on Teagasc Sheep here  Teagasc provides a Local Advisory and Education service to farmers. Find your local Teagasc office here