27 November 2000
Sheep men urge headage flat rate

By FWi staff

NATIONAL Sheep Association chief executive John Thorley has called for the introduction of a flat-rate 25 ewe headage payment.

Speaking at the Royal Smithfield Show, Mr Thorley said: “If the public wants good environmental conditions, then they must pay for it.”

He added: “Without sheep, the whole rural fabric will fall apart.”

The money is needed to give the sector parity with other livestock sectors, all of which get better returns than sheep, said Mr Thorley.

Hopes of a set rate of support for sheep have been raised by encouraging remarks made at last weeks meeting of farm ministers in Brussels, he added.

Agriculture minister Nick Brown and his French counterpart Jean Glavany have agreed that sheep play a vital role in the rural economy, said Mr Thorley.

“This is a significant shift in the political opinion. Now its down to the sheep industry to exploit it,” he said.