The IFA Sheep Committee met earlier this week and re-affirmed the importance of this measure to underpin the viability of sheep farmers.
Sean Dennehy said the scheme must have a funding allocation of approx. €78m to deliver €30/ewe to all participants.
“The current proposal lacks ambition to provide the opportunity for participants to generate €30/ewe and must be amended through increased/updated costings and additional practical and beneficial measures,” he said.
Sean Dennehy said the reference period must reflect the actual levels of activity on farms. New entrants to the sector must be allowed time to establish their flocks while participating in the scheme and have this recognised in the reference numbers.
The IFA Sheep Committee has also included a proposal to include shearing as an action in the scheme.
“Shearing has become a very expensive practice for sheep farmers due to the collapse in the wool market. This is a critical animal health and welfare measure, which is ideally placed for inclusion in the sheep scheme,” he said.
Inclusion of this measure in the sheep scheme will deliver on a number of key objectives in the CAP. It will support farmers in a vulnerable sector and ensure best practice is followed in parasite control and the overall health and welfare of the flock. It will also ensure that wool, which is a natural product with many environmentally-sustainable uses, is presented from farms in optimum condition for further use.
Sean Dennehy said the Committee is unanimous that compulsion to be part of the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme as an eligibility requirement of the scheme must be removed. Quality Assurance is a market requirement which should be rewarded from the market place. It is not appropriate as a requirement for eligibility in the proposed scheme.
The Committee also said the new agri-environmental scheme must deliver €10,000 to sheep farmers