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€19m in sheep payments are out this week

THOUSANDS of sheep farmers across the West of Ireland are receiving a badly needed end-of-year financial injection with Sheep Improvement Scheme (SIS) payments issuing this week.

Over 17,000 farmers across the county will benefit from the 85%, €19 million SIS payout this week – on average, working out at just over €1,100 per qualifying farmer.

Next to Donegal, Galway has the highest sheep population in the country – according to the Teagasc Farm Incomes report for 2022, the average farm income for sheep farmers stood at €16,500, down €4,300 from a record year in 2021.

Galway IFA Chair and sheep farmer, Stephen Canavan, said that the arrival of the SIS payments were vital for the survival of the enterprise across Galway and the West of Ireland.

“There are a lot of farmers across the country who are experiencing serious cashflow problems and especially so in the sheep sector.

“It has been a difficult year for sheep farmers in terms of factory prices and also with the weather. We had a very dry start to the early summer which impacted negatively on ewe milk yields while the very wet weather of recent months also affected thrive,” Stephen Canavan told the Farming Tribune.

The SIS payment rate of €12 per ewe is set to increase to €20 in 2024 following the October Budget announcement but according to Stephen Canavan, the ‘nuts-and-bolts’ of the scheme have still to be released.

Pictured: Stephen Canavan: Welcome for payments.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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