A support package worth over £1.2 million has been announced for Northern Irish sheep farmers impacted by poor wool prices over the past year.
The scheme, announced by the NI government, will provide £1.27 million to producers following the crash in the global market for wool as a result of the pandemic.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) said it recognised the financial impact that the downturn in the wool market had on the sector.
Over the past year the department has met with representatives of the industry to discuss the impact of the pandemic and the resulting impact for local farmers.
Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots said: “To offset the losses incurred in their returns from wool sales, I am pleased to announce £1.27 million support from the Covid-19 fund.
“This financial support will compensate for losses incurred and encourage farmers to value the wool that they produce as it is a sustainable natural product that has wonderful potential in many different product areas.
“I am pleased that over £21.6 million has already been paid out by DAERA to local farm businesses impacted by the pandemic.
"This financial support will be very helpful in these difficult times.”
When the scheme opens later this year, eligible farmers will be contacted and asked to complete a simple application form to claim their payments.
It comes as almost £2 million of Covid-19 support funding was paid out last week to over 100 pig and poultry producers in Northern Ireland.