Fodder transport scheme to be announced today

The much-anticipated fodder transport scheme is expected to be announced by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed today (Wednesday, January 24).

After weeks of engagement with multiple stakeholders – and the fodder action group – it is anticipated that the department will provide a “targeted contribution” towards the long-distance transport of fodder.

It is understood that the scheme will be particularly aimed at those in areas worst impacted by recent adverse weather conditions that forced many farmers – particularly in the north and north-west regions – to house stock earlier than usual. This move hampered efforts to conserve fodder for the winter period.

Although full details of the scheme are not yet available, the minister recently stated the importance of bringing forward a “prudent measure” to address the situation.

Speaking to AgriLand last week Minister Creed said: “I or my department have never been slow to respond to crises that have faced agriculture; in the past year we had a swift response to the Donegal flooding and the tillage issue.

We have indicated now that we will be making a response in the context of the fodder issue – in the north-west in particular – to deal with long-distance haulage costs of fodder and we will be making a more detailed announcement on that in the coming days.

The anticipated development will be welcome news to farmers and farm bodies who have made repeated calls for a transport subsidy and a meal voucher system to be introduced to meet the needs of affected farmers on the ground.

The fodder action group was established early last December and consists of a range of stakeholders, including: farm organisations; co-ops; the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc; and various financial institutions.

Arising from group meetings, Teagasc committed to assessing fodder availability in the south of the country to ascertain what supplies could be made available to farmers in the most affected regions.