Just 2 applications received for fodder subsidy so far

Just two farmers have lodged applications for the much talked about fodder transport subsidy according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

“As of this morning, two completed applications for the fodder transport measure have been received in department offices in Portlaoise,” a department spokesperson said.

However, the spokesperson was quick to explain that this was to be expected, adding:

This is not unexpected as farmers may be holding off submitting application forms until they receive the required amount of fodder thereby only submitting one declaration form from the co-operative.

‘Half-hearted effort’

Sinn Fein Senator Rose Conway-Walsh was among those calling on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to introduce an emergency fodder voucher system.

She said: “It is very clear across rural communities that the transport scheme for fodder has not worked for most farmers. The red tape involved in this half-hearted effort to meet the needs of farmers has failed to deliver a viable scheme.

Having to engage a farm advisor and purchase through co-ops has resulted in an increased cost of fodder.

“Vouchers need to be provided through the co-ops and feed merchants. Teagasc has already collected data on farmers’ needs which has identified areas most at risk.

“This would guarantee the quality of the feed available, providing a high level of nutrition for livestock – rather than relying on the variable qualities of silage and hay being transported now.

“The vast majority of farmers will only apply for what they need to feed their livestock. A voucher limit can be set for each herd owner linked to their individual herd number,” she said.

In the past, Minister Creed has acknowledged that there are certain pockets of the country which are suffering from a fodder shortage – but, he outlined that there are sufficient fodder supplies in other parts of Ireland which can be transported to alleviate the problem in affected areas.

In response, the Fodder Transport Support Measure was introduced earlier this year to subsidise the transport of fodder – at varying rates – once the transport distance exceeds 100km.

The minister has also consistently ruled out the possibility of any meal voucher system being put in place, despite repeated calls for such intervention.