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New Uplands Sheep Payments Issue

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today announced that payments to eligible farmers under the new Upland Sheep Payment Scheme have commenced.  Minister Smith said that he expected that payments worth in the region of €5 million would be made by the end of the year with the additional top-up payment from the remaining €2 million being paid in early 2010.  The Minister said "in view of the particular difficulties being experienced by Irish sheep farmers, I decided, earlier in the year, that the only funding available to me from the Single Farm Payment National Reserve would be targeted exclusively at this sector."

The Minister said that he had "been consistently of the view that the sheep sector is one that needs and deserves assistance and it is in that context that I have allocated €7 million to hill sheep farmers this year and I am making a further €54 million available over the next three years on a specific measure to support incomes in the sheep sector. In addition, I have allocated an additional €8 million for sheep fencing and mobile handling facilities, to assist sheep farmers in reducing labour input, as part of a new targeted on-farm investment scheme."

The Minister also confirmed that payments under the Single Payment Scheme and Disadvantaged Areas Scheme are continuing to issue, as individual cases are cleared for payment. "To date, the combined value of the payments that have issued under these two Schemes is in excess of €1.462 billion" the Minister said.  He also confirmed that payments due to the small number of participating farmers under the Protein Aid Scheme, worth in excess of €220,000, have also begun issuing.

Concluding, the Minister said "I must also take the opportunity to confirm that the necessary on-farm verification in relation to the Damaged Fodder Aid Scheme have also begun. My intention is to have all the necessary work done as soon as possible in order to allow this aid to be paid to as many affected farmers as is possible over the coming weeks".

Note for Editors:

The 2009 Upland Sheep Payment will be payable to farmers who:

  • declared their sheep under the 2007 and the 2008 Sheep Census;
  • declared Mountain Type Grazing under the 2009 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme; and
  • were eligible for and were in receipt of payment under the 2009 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme.

The maximum area payable is 15 hectares of mountain type grazing.

Date Released: 09 December 2009