Creed announces €1.5 million allocation for fodder support measure

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has allocated €1.5 million 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,” he said in an announcement today.

“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.”

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 April 5 through to April 30 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 20,000t of fodder into the country and this will be kept under ongoing review until the current crisis 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.

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.

Existing ‘transport subsidy’

This further measure is intended to build on existing supports, including the Fodder Transport Support measure introduced in January.

Specifically, the minister said that this existing, previous measure would now apply to all counties with immediate effect; the need for a fodder budget has also been removed and the minimum distance requirement would be reduced to 50km.

Regarding GLAS (Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme) measures, the minister has also announced an extension to the closing date for grazing livestock on ‘traditional hay meadows’. Grazing by livestock is now permitted up to May 1 this year.

The minister concluded by saying: “I will continue to monitor the fodder situation closely and work with all stakeholders until we have successfully come through this trying period.”