Agriculture Committee to focus on fodder crisis yet again

The ongoing fodder crisis is set to be focused on by the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine on Tuesday, May 8.

Representatives from Teagasc and the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) – as well as Bank of Ireland, AIB, Ulster Bank and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) – are scheduled to appear before the committee.

Commenting on the news, the chair of the committee – Fine Gael TD Pat Deering – said: “In March, the committee called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to appear before us to discuss solutions to the fodder shortage that has hit the country since the end of last year.

At that meeting, we urged the minister to develop a comprehensive, long-term response in order to ensure that farmers are not placed in such a situation again and so that they can be assisted in emerging from the current shortage.

“On Tuesday, we will discuss support measures for farmers – with a particular emphasis on what measures can and should be put in place in order to ensure that farmers are appropriately supported should such an event occur again,” deputy Deering said.

As well as this, the committee will discuss the subject of burnt land in the final part of its meeting.

Continuing, the chair of the committee added: “Agricultural and eligible forestry land which is burnt illegally during the closed season – March 1 to August 31 – is not eligible for payment under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and other area-based schemes.

Farmers make the point that excluding burnt land from the BPS places a further burden on the victims of illegal burning.

“There have been calls for the minister to rescind the instruction regarding burnt land and BPS payments. The committee will discuss the complex issues around burnt land at the meeting,” he concluded.