Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and The Marine with Macra na Feirme President Seán Finan and Macra's Agriculture Affairs Manager Derrie Dillon
By tipperary star reporter firstname.lastname@example.org @tippstar
The announcement by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed allowing recent new entrant farmers to be eligible for the Sheep Welfare Scheme has been welcomed by Macra na Feirme national president Seán Finan.
Mr Finan said: “The new welfare scheme provides for those who were not farming in the 2014 and 2015 reference year and who are now farming sheep between January 2016 and the close of the scheme on the 31st January 2017 to be eligible for the €10 sheep welfare payment.
“I welcome Minister Creed’s commitment to new entrant sheep farmers following lobbying by Macra na Feirme on this issue”.
As a further positive development, Macra na Feirme is proposing that Minister Creed look at increasing the flexibility of the scheme for young farmers under the age of 40, who were established in the reference years and have grown sheep numbers since the reference years to be eligible to apply on their current sheep stock numbers.
Seán Finan said, “Young farmers starting out have their own ambition and development plans to reach a certain stocking number to be financially viable and sustainable. This is not generally achievable in year one or two for many young farmers who reach their ideal stocking rates over a number of years. These young farmers should be given the option of using either the reference years or their current stocking number”.
Macra na Feirme believe this proposal would be a very positive move and is achievable within the existing budget for the scheme. It would send a positive signal to young sheep farmers who are growing their businesses and contributing to the economic and jobs agenda in rural areas.