Fodder transport scheme must be ‘up and running without delay’

It is essential that a fodder transport scheme to support farmers affected by the fodder crisis is up and running without delay, according to the deputy president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) Richard Kennedy.

He will lead an IFA delegation at today’s meeting of the Fodder Action Group in Sligo.

Ahead of the meeting, Kennedy said that any transport support scheme put in place by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, will have to be practical and effective in dealing with the crisis.

AgriLand understands that a targeted, localised measure to support the transport of fodder will be announced following the second meeting of the fodder action group.

Also Read: Creed poised to establish targeted fodder transport support

Responding to the reports, Kennedy said: “It appears that Minister Creed has finally recognised that something has to be done.

Whatever scheme is put in place, it is imperative that it is up and running without delay, that it is practical and not excessively bureaucratic.

In recent weeks, the IFA has mobilised its national county and branch network to support those farmers in most difficulty as a result of the fodder crisis.

Counties have been twinned to identify farmers who are in a position to contribute hay or silage that can be transported to areas in need and provided at a reasonable cost.

Continuing, Kennedy said: “The survey undertaken by Teagasc has clearly established that 85% of farmers in the north-west region are affected by fodder shortages and have, on average, less than half of the fodder they need for the winter. That is a very stark situation for the farmers affected.

Our view is that a feed voucher scheme for concentrated feed/meal would have been the most efficient way to address this problem.

“While there is no doubt that farmers in some counties have some surplus fodder, it is costly to transport it and it is far from certain that there is sufficient fodder to address the problem in the worst affected areas.

“However, a transport support scheme would be welcome – so long as it is operable and put in place quickly,” he concluded.

The finer details of the scheme are set to be announced later today.