Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has announced the allocation of €1.5m towards the introduction of a fodder import support measure.
“‘In light of poor weather conditions and an evolving fodder supply challenge across the country, I am immediately introducing a support measure contributing to the cost of importing fodder from abroad,” Minister Creed said. “I welcome the moves to import fodder by the co-operatives and this measure supports this initiative. The co-operative ethos remains very strong and vibrant in Irish agriculture."
The Department said the 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 April 5 to April 30, 2018, and will be subject to EU State Aid (de-minimis) rules. Support under the measure will reduce the cost to farmers of imported fodder by approximately one-third, according to the Department. 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.
Minister Creed said that while the measure will operate through the dairy co-operatives, the actual beneficiaries will be farmers who urgently need supplies of forage: “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.
On GLAS, the Minister 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 May 1 this year.
The Minister said he will continue to monitor the fodder situation closely and work with all stakeholders.