Call for sheep farmers to be treated fairly

A farm leader has suggested that “the obsession with dairy expansion” was perhaps unwise and that the sheep sector should not be treated unfairly.

Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association sheep committee chairman John Brooks made the comments when calling on Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney to reconsider the exclusion of sheep fencing from the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes.

“While the previous schemes may have been under subscribed, there has to be an understanding that low-income sheep farmers can only avail of grant schemes when their finances allow,” he said.

Mr Brooks said opening and closing grant schemes is not an ideal strategy as it leads to a panic to get in while the scheme is open for a limited time with an obvious knock-on effect on construction price inflation.

He said Mr Coveney needs to realise that supporting sheep fencing will be of undoubted benefit not only to the farmers involved but to the export sector.

“Critically, not many sheep farmers will require unsustainable borrowings from undertaking a modest fencing investment. Can the same be said for the very ambitious plans for large scale dairy units?” he asked.


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