Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine is pictured in Kenmare Co-op Mart, Co Kerry at the launch of a new Sheep Welfare Scheme which will provide funding of up to €25 million for Irish sheep farmers in 2017. The scheme will be introduced in January as part of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme having been agreed with the European Commission. (Photo: O'Gorman Photography)

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, announced that the third year of the Sheep Welfare Scheme will commence on February 2, 2019.

Existing participants in the scheme will be automatically enrolled in year 3 and will not need to take any action should they wish to remain in the scheme.

Minister Creed stated: “The Sheep Welfare Scheme provides support to farmers for undertaking actions which make a positive contribution to flock welfare. Information packs containing the 2019 terms and conditions of the scheme along with Action Record books for 2019 will shortly be issuing from my Department to existing participants in the scheme.’’

Applications for participation in year 3 of the Sheep Welfare Scheme are now being accepted from new entrants to sheep farming.

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 from January 1, 2018 and prior to December 31, 2018, or an applicant with an existing herd number who has not held or traded in sheep for a two year period up to October 31 preceding the scheme year.

Minister Creed urged all existing scheme applicants and eligible new entrants to the sheep sector to return their forms by February 1.