Union Reminds Hill Farmers of Key Scheme Rules

Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme inspections imminent

NFU Scotland is reminding members of key rules within the Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme (SUSSS) ahead of farm inspections commencing.

The scheme, now in its second year, saw applications close on 17 October 2016 with the retention period running until 31 March 2017.  It is designed to assist active hill farmers and crofters through a payment coupled to the number of ewe hoggs they keep as breeding replacements for their flocks.  

The scheme has a fixed budget of €8 million per annum, and the payment rate will vary depending on the total number of eligible animals claimed in the scheme year.  Payment rates under year one of SUSSS were equivalent to €78 per eligible ewe hogg – well below the Scottish Government’s original €100 estimate - due to significantly more animals being claimed than were expected.  It is anticipated that the number of claimed hoggs may have increased again in year Two.

NFU Scotland Livestock Policy Manager John Armour said: “This scheme is a vital funding strand for Scotland’s hill farmers.  Farm inspections are imminent, so it is appropriate to remind applicants of the key scheme rules.

“Eligible ewe hoggs must be less than 12 months old at the beginning of the retention period (17 October) and must be home-bred. They must be retained on your holding or away winterings from 17 October to 31 March.

“If the number of ewe hoggs kept in the retention period falls below the number claimed due to natural circumstances or losses, then you have 10 working days from finding any reduction to notify SGRIPD in writing – by e-mail, letter or online.

“You must also maintain a record of the number of claimed animals, accounting for any losses. This should include dates and locations of deaths, as well as EID identifiers if possible.  And remember that all claimed sheep must be double tagged, with one EID tag.

“SGRIPD must be made aware of the location of sheep which have been claimed at any time during the retention period. Locations will have been entered on your claim form. If you move your sheep to a location not listed on the claim, then you must also notify SGRIPD in writing.

“Similarly, if someone else is looking after your sheep during the retention period you are still required to alert SGRIPD of any movement, even for short periods. The warning is that if claimed sheep are found at inspection not to be at notified locations, then you are likely to receive a penalty.

“You can also withdraw animals at any time but not if SGRIPD have informed you that they are inspecting your holding, or have notified you of any errors.

“Given how important this scheme is to many of our members, taking a few steps to ensure compliance with scheme rules will help ensure any flock inspection will go as smoothly as possible and risks of penalties minimised.”  

Notes to Editors


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 15/17

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