The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has said that his department cannot do everything, but is working hard to understand the challenges facing farmers.
The minister was responding to a call from Kerry TD, Danny Healy-Rae yesterday (Wednesday, May 18) in the Dáil to support farmers who do not grow and cut fodder, as their land is not suitable.
“Farmers are under savage pressure with the increased costs of fertiliser, fuel and electricity,” the independent deputy said.
Healy-Rae welcomed the €1,000 payment proposed by Minister McConalogue under the silage support scheme.
It will reward farmers with a €100/ha payment for all silage and hay cut up to a maximum of 10ha, with payments due to be made later in the year.
“While it is not an awful lot, it is a lot in a way,” the TD remarked.
Healy-Rae outlined that there are many farmers in east and south Kerry who do not cut fodder on their land because it is not suitable.
Instead, they depend on others to draw fodder in for them from other places, including Cork, he explained.
“Will the minister include something for those people?” the TD asked.
He also appealed for the silage support scheme payment to be made as soon as possible because “many farmers just do not have money to carry on”.
In response, Minister McConalogue acknowledged the challenges facing farmers in terms of input costs, especially fertiliser.
“I have been engaged closely with the fertiliser suppliers to ensure security of supply. They have worked very hard to ensure that is the case.
“I also introduced the scheme to pay €1,000 on up to 10ha to support farmers to cut hay and silage this year.
“As you know, and across the rest of the economy, we can’t do everything but we are working hard understanding the challenges that are there.
“I think that scheme will be a really important support to encourage farmers to actually grow. It applies to beef farmers, sheep farmers and those with tillage land who grow fodder,” he explained.
“It will be paid in the latter part of the year. It’s not possible to pay it in advance.
“But I think that knowing that support will be there gives confidence to the sector to make preparations to grow the grass, grow the fodder and help to cover the cost of that,” Minister McConalogue concluded.