Creed announces details of fodder import scheme and eases GLAS rules
The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Michael Creed has announced that he has allocated €1.5 million towards the introduction of a Fodder Import Support measure.
This measure is being introduced with immediate effect to reduce the cost to farmers of imported forage (hay, silage, haylage etc.) from outside the island of Ireland.
The measure will operate through the dairy Co-operatives. It will cover forage imported by the co-ops from 05th April 2018 to 30th April 2018 and will be subject to EU State Aid (de-minimis) rules.
Support under the measure will substantially reduce the cost to farmers of imported fodder by approximately one third.
This initial allocation will support the importation of up to 20,000 tons of fodder into the country and this will be kept under ongoing review until the current crises is over.
The Minister stressed that while the measure will operate through the dairy Co-operatives, the actual beneficiaries will be farmers who urgently need supplies of forage.
Minister Creed added this measure will largely replicate the straightforward approach adopted in 2013 whereby a farmer approached a participating Co-op, purchased fodder and my Department subsequently paid the transport support element to the Co-op.
Application forms and terms and conditions will be made available through the Co-ops and on the Department’s website from tomorrow. Supplies imported today will be covered.
Fodder Transport Scheme
Minister Creed also took the opportunity to enhance the flexibility of the Fodder Transport Support measure in light of the on-going weather difficulties.
Specifically, the Minister said that this national measure would now apply to all counties with immediate effect, remove the need for a fodder budget and the minimum distance requirement would be reduced to 50 km.
The reduction in minimum transport distance will provide greater flexibility in both sourcing and supplying fodder but will ensure that the measure, which is a transport support, continues to respect the normal local trading arrangements that apply in the case of fodder.
Regarding GLAS measures, the Minister has also announced an extension to the closing date for grazing livestock on land containing the Traditional Hay Meadow action under the scheme. Grazing by livestock is now permitted up to 1st May this year.
This additional commitment builds on previous support which included; Early payment of EU aid last Autumn resulting in €1.6 billion in payments before the end of 2017 to farmers under BPS, ANC and Agri-environment scheme, and the introduction of a National Transport support measure in January of this year facilitating the movement of fodder to the North and West.
The Minister concluded by saying: “the initiatives I have announced today build on the support that Teagasc, industry and my own Department have been providing to the farming sector throughout this difficult winter. I will continue to monitor the fodder situation closely and work with all stakeholders until we have successfully come through this trying period.”