April 1, 2023
Last month, after much delay, DEFRA launched their new initiative in the form of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway (AHWP). This will form a key part of the wider agricultural transition plan.
The goals for this incentive are based around 4 key pillars:
Initially, funding will be available to livestock keepers with >10 beef cows, >10 dairy cows, >20 sheep or >50 pigs who also have an SBI number. The plan is then to expand this to all livestock keepers and an increased number of species. Once enrolled (which can now be done online), farmers are able to arrange a visit with one of our vets to discuss endemic disease, animal productivity and how welfare can be improved. It is worth noting here that this is not an audit or inspection and it is also optional.
‘Why is this different to our normal health plan then?’ I hear you say. Well, in truth a lot of it is already covered in our current health plan and review. However, the two key differences are that (1) you will have to carry out certain tests dependent on species and (2) you will get paid for it!
To be eligible to receive your funding you will have to perform set tests for your livestock. We will provide more details of this shortly. However, below are the diseases that must be tested for, dependent on species.
Unlike previous initiatives from DEFRA, you will receive this money directly and then pay the vet for the testing and health and welfare review. The review can be redone at a minimum interval of 10 months and must be completed within 6 months of acceptance (worth noting if you plan to perform tests at certain times of year). Currently, farmers can only claim for one species if they are mixed farmers. However, it is proposed that this will expand to allow payment for more than one species per farm.