Monday 21 January 2019

Funding to import fodder announced

Jer O’Mahony, James Kehoe, Edel Gahan and Tom Short at the IFA’s fodder crisis meeting.
Jer O’Mahony, James Kehoe, Edel Gahan and Tom Short at the IFA’s fodder crisis meeting.

Brendan Keane

The government allocation of €1.5m towards the introduction of a Fodder Import Support scheme has been welcomed by Wexford T.D., Min. Paul Kehoe.

The initiative, which was under consideration for the last number of weeks was officially announced two weeks ago, and will operate mainly through dairy Co-Ops. It will initially cover fodder imported for the period between April 5 and April 30, however, it will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the current crisis is over.

It's expected the scheme will cover around one-third of the cost of importing and according to Min. Kehoe it will 'substantially alleviate' the cost on farmers.

'This has been a long difficult winter and late spring that we are now emerging from, resulting in great pressures on the whole farming community,' he said.

It's expected the new measure will support the importation of up to 20,000 tonnes of fodder and according to Min. Kehoe the scheme, which was announced by Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., will be kept under ongoing review until the current crisis is over.

'The actual beneficiaries will be farmers who urgently need supplies of fodder,' he said.

In addition to Co-ops the scheme is also being operated through other approved importers.

'We recognise that farm families are the heartbeat of the rural economy,' said Min. Kehoe.

His comments came in the wake of a meeting of the IFA executive in Enniscorthy at which the crisis was discussed and options considered as to how farmers can increase their livestock feed.

Min. Kehoe said application forms and terms and conditions for the funding will be made available through Co-ops and on the Department of Agriculture website. Farmers are also being advised to contact their local participating co-op indicating their intention to purchase and the volume of fodder they require.

Through the scheme the department will pay the participating Co-ops a standard contribution towards the cost of transport and that will be taken into account in the price offered to farmers.

A list of the participating Co-ops will be made available on the department's website in the coming days.

The Fodder Transport Scheme has also been expanded throughout the country with the minimum distance required for eligibility reduced to 50km rather than the existing 100km.

When he announced the funding measure was being considered Min Creed also called on farmers who still have supplies to continue making them available to neighbours who are in difficulty by utilising local groups, Teagasc, and co-ops.

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