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Final sheep payments to come this week

THE last 2,000 sheep farmers waiting for their Grassland Scheme payment will be paid this week, according to a Department official.

Delays had arisen following the discovery that the rate that farmers were paid per ewe was higher than originally agreed.

The slip-up by the Department resulted in sheep farmers being paid €10/ewe instead of the €9.40 that had been sanctioned by the EU.

As a result, the 60c/ewe will be clawed back from farmers next year. The payments to be issued this week will be at the new correct rate of €9.40/ewe.

The vast majority of applicants received the first of three annual payments under the new scheme in March this year.

There were also a number of applications that failed to meet the required criteria to qualify for the payment.

In total, €54m will be paid to sheep farmers through the scheme which was originally due to run until 2012, although the delay in payments this year could see the scheme run into 2013. It is funded from unused single farm payment funds.

Darragh McCullough

Indo Farming