Dennehy: Funding for sheep sector in CAP far short of what’s needed

IFA Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy said the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue’s CAP Strategic Plan will exclude one million ewes from any funding.

“The proposed €20 million per annum Sheep Improvement Scheme with payments of €12 per ewe will only be available to 1.7 million ewes. This is even fewer than the number of ewes in the current Sheep Welfare Scheme,” he said.

The IFA National Sheep Chairman made this point directly to Minister McConalogue at the IFA protest in Kilkenny on Thursday night last and called on the Minister to provide funding for €30 for all ewes in the country in the new CAP plans.

“According to the most recent census figures, there are over 2.6 million ewes in the country. Using those figures, the proposed funding will only deliver a payment of €7.70 per ewe,” he said.

Sean Dennehy highlighted the vulnerability of sheep farming and the dangers of losing this key contributor to quality food production, environmental ambitions and critical social and economic activity in some of the most challenging farming regions of the country.

He said a targeted €30 per ewe payment is crucial to support the sector; encourage generational renewal; and ensure sheep farming remains a significant and positive contributor to those areas where it’s carried out.

The IFA Sheep Chairman said IFA had specifically called for shearing to be included in the scheme to address the collapse in the wool market.

He said inclusion of this measure would offset the enormous costs now associated with what is a key animal health and welfare measure on farms, and allow payments in the scheme build to the desired rate.

Mr. Dennehy said the Minister must come forward with meaningful amendments to the proposed scheme and a budget that will provide €30 per ewe for all 2.6 million ewes in the country, which would reflect his stated support for the sector with meaningful actions.