Annual sheep and goat census forms have issued to over 47,000 sheep and goat keepers registered with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).
The Department selected Friday 31st December as the 2020 census date. Keepers are required to record the census data on their flock registers. Keepers should be aware that completion and return of the census is a legal obligation.
Completed forms returned by post must arrive no later than 1st February 2020 at the address printed on the envelope provided with the census form. It is not permitted to submit forms by post through any office of the Department. The onus remains with the flock/herd keeper to make sure that completed census forms are received on time. In the case of dispute regarding postal returns, the only acceptable proof of postage is a Registered Post receipt. A postal certificate or express post receipt is not acceptable as proof of postage.
The Department is encouraging keepers to return census data online on agfood.ie. An extended deadline of 15th February 2021 applies to online returns. Online submission of the annual sheep and goat census information is straightforward and provides real-time confirmation when the information input has been submitted successfully.
The benefits of using the on-line census facility include:
- ability to view census history;
- peace of mind that 2020 census details have been submitted successfully, to ensure compliance with any scheme requirements;
- no additional inconvenience or costs associated with registering a postal return; and
- sheep keepers registered for on-line services can order books of sheep dispatch/movement documents on-line through the Animal Identification and Movements (AIM) system.
Keepers that are not registered on www.agfood.ie can do so by logging on to www.agfood.ie and clicking the option to ‘Register’. Keepers using on-line services for the first time must allow sufficient time for their personal log-on details to be sent to them by post after they register. These details will be required for secure connection to the AIM database to submit census data.
Keepers intending to use agfood.ie for the first time should start the registration process early to ensure that they receive their log-in details in time to submit their census information online by 15th February 2021.
A step-by-step guide to completing the Census on-line is provided on the back of the 2020 Census form.
The closing date for receipt of completed 2020 census forms by post is 1st February 2021. However, respondents submitting a census return on-line via agfood.ie may avail of an extended closing date to 11.59 p.m. on Monday 15th February 2020. Failure to return a completed form on time could impact on eligibility for some DAFM schemes.