The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, T.D., announced today the commencement of balancing payments to all eligible farmers under year 2 of the Sheep Welfare Scheme. African Swine Fever
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, T.D., announced today the commencement of balancing payments to all eligible farmers under year 2 of the Sheep Welfare Scheme. The Scheme is co-funded by the European Union as part of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme, 2014-2020.
Minister Creed stated that: “following the issuing of the 85% advance payments to farmers in mid-November, I am happy to confirm that the 15% balancing payments under the Sheep Welfare Scheme have now commenced.”
The Minister noted, “This scheme continues to reflect the commitment of this Government to the sheep sector in Ireland and has provided a welcome additional stream of income to sheep farmers which was not previously available.”
The rollout of the balancing payments brings the total paid under the Sheep Welfare Scheme to almost €17 million to some 19,000 farmers, providing a significant financial boost to the individual farmers, the sheep sector in general and the wider rural economy.
The Minister concluded by urging farmers with outstanding queries to respond to the Department immediately in order to facilitate payment. Payments will continue to issue on an ongoing basis as eligibility is confirmed for farmers with outstanding queries.
African Swine Fever
African swine fever (ASF) is a viral disease of pigs and wild boar that is usually fatal. The disease can result in devastating losses for pig farmers and the pig industry in affected countries. There is no cure or vaccine available for ASF and the disease is spreading across the world. Within the last two years, the disease has spread to a number of previously unaffected countries in Europe and Asia, including China, which has over half of the world’s total pig population.
Ireland is free of African swine fever and it is in all of our interests to keep it that way, as an outbreak of the disease would have a huge impact on the Irish pig industry here.
Although ASF does not affect humans or other animal species and meat from pigs does not pose any food safety risk, the virus can survive for months or even years in pork and pork meat products including cured meats, hams, sausages etc. If pigs eat food, waste that contains infected meat it will cause an outbreak of the disease.
Pig farmers including those with only one or two pigs must be vigilant and ensure that their pigs are protected. They should follow the specific biosecurity guidelines below:
Remember it is illegal to feed food waste containing meat to farm animals as it can spread African swine fever as well as other diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease.
Members of the public can also play their part by taking the following precautions:
- Do not bring meat products into Ireland from outside the EU
- Do not bring meat or meat products onto Irish pig farms
- Always use a secure bin to dispose of waste food, so that farm animals, wild animals or wild birds cannot access it.
It is vital that everybody plays their part to keep African swine fever out of Ireland for the sake of our pigs, our pig farmers and our Agri-food Industry.