Transport scheme welcomed; but ‘more is needed’

The transport subsidy scheme announced by the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed earlier today will help to alleviate fodder problems, but more is needed, according to Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) president Joe Healy.

Two meetings of the Fodder Action Group took place ahead of the IFA AGM last week, at which the minister committed to the introduction of a transport subsidy scheme.

On the 100km rule to avail of the subsidy of €12 for silage and €8 for straw, Healy said this is too inflexible and will have to be re-visited, along with any other aspects that are impractical.

The president said the scheme should have the minimum of bureaucracy, as this is a busy time of the year on farms.

Healy said the IFA had made a strong case to the minister since the problem of fodder shortages, particularly in the north-west, emerged last autumn.

IFA Connacht Regional chairman Padraic Joyce said the IFA believes a meal voucher system would have been the best and most efficient means of providing support.

However, in the absence of such a scheme, it is vital that the transport subsidy scheme is opened immediately – as farmers are under extreme stress and are in dire need of feed for animals, Joyce said.