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Wednesday 12 December 2018

Hill farmers call for extra €10/ewe in welfare scheme

A flock of Mayo Blackface sheep in the shadow of Croagh Patrick during last week's cold snap. Photo: Conor McKeown
A flock of Mayo Blackface sheep in the shadow of Croagh Patrick during last week's cold snap. Photo: Conor McKeown
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

An extra €10 per ewe should be targeted at hill sheep farmers from the estimated underspend in the sheep welfare scheme, the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) have said.

This proposal comes ahead of the Teagasc National Hill Sheep Conference due to take place in Westport tomorrow.

INHFA vice president Brendan Joyce urged the Government to target the monies at the hill sheep sector, and called for an increase in budget.

"Delivering welfare measures in a hill flock situation can be very difficult and time consuming, particularly for measures such as scanning and mineral supplementation where only small numbers of sheep can be gathered at one time, due to adverse weather conditions, which has left the hill sheep farmers on their knees," he said.

Mr Joyce added that in the absence of a market for hill or light hill lambs and poor income performance, that it is vital that hill flock owners get as much support as possible "to sustain" the industry.

The sheep sector supports 35,000 farm families directly, as well as several thousand other jobs directly and indirectly in the rural economy.  In 2017 exports from the sector were worth €274 million, an increase of 12% compared to 2016.

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