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Minister Smith Opens Sheep 2010 Event at UCD Lyons Research Farm

Brendan Smith TD, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, today officially opened the Sheep 2010 event at UCD Lyons Research farm in Newcastle, Co Dublin.  This major showcase event is designed to allow farmers interact with all stakeholders in the sector on the one site to help them improve profitability of their farms.

Minister Smith said "I am delighted with the cooperation shown by a number of stakeholders in the sector who have put huge effort into the day's event. All sectors of the industry are represented here and there are a huge range of areas of interest to all sheep farmers. The Sheep Industry is worth around €250m to the National economy, with two thirds of the product being exported. It is a vital farm enterprise spread throughout the country, with over thirty thousand committed flockowners producing a quality product for discerning consumers both at home and abroad. I am committed to having a vibrant, sustainable sheep sector as an integral part of the overall agri-food sector. The value of the Industry cannot be underestimated and the sector is one that forms an essential part of the rural economy and one with a strong future".

Minister Smith also took the opportunity to restate the Government's commitment to the sheep sector, and said that the recently launched Grassland sheep scheme would deliver an extra €54 million to sheep farmers over the next three years which was a major boost to incomes. Significant funding was also being provided to An Bord Bia and Sheep Ireland to also help to improve farm profits.

Speaking of the importance of the sheep sector to the rural economy, Minister Smith emphasised "There is a renewed interest and confidence in sheep production this year, and farmers are more confident in the future which bodes well for the future of the Industry". The Minister concluded by wishing the organisers a very successful event.

Date Released: 26 June 2010