No plans to establish a fodder aid scheme on the horizon

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has dismissed any immediate need to establish a fodder aid scheme.

Calls were made by Sinn Fein TD Martin Kenny on the back of the recent poor weather conditions. He argued that some farmers have been unable to get a second cut of silage and are having problems getting slurry spread on their land due to poor ground conditions.

Accepting the difficulties facing farmers on account of recent heavy rainfall, Minister Creed outlined how his department has been monitoring the situation closely.

“My department has been monitoring grass growth rates, weather conditions and feed supplies across the country.

Grass growth rates are currently substantially ahead of recent years, but there are difficulties in utilising grass in some regions due to above average rainfall levels.

“The European Commission has recently agreed to my request for an advance payment of the 2017 basic payment scheme. This has been prompted by the protracted inclement weather conditions and also market difficulties caused by currency fluctuations,” he said.

During the National Ploughing Championships the minister confirmed that an advance Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payment of 70% would begin to issue to farmers on October 16 – with balancing payment being made with effect from December 1.

“There will also be an increase permitted to the advance for Pillar 2 rural development schemes.

“These payments and the payments under the areas of natural constraints scheme, which commenced recently, will inject up to €800 million into the Irish rural economy in the coming weeks and will provide a very welcome boost for Irish farm families, and also funding for fodder purchase where required.

“Taking account of this, there are no plans at this time to establish a fodder aid scheme. I understand fodder supplies remain available nationally and my department will continue to monitor the situation,” he said.

Minister Creed concluded by saying that avenues are available to individual farmers where there are fodder and animal welfare issues combining to give rise to specific circumstances requiring the intervention of the department.