Fine Gael Tipperary South TD, Tom Hayes, has welcomed the decision taken by the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney TD, to extend the imported fodder transport scheme for an extra week.
Deputy Hayes added that the Government fully recognised the difficulties being experienced by farmers around the country due to the fodder shortage.
“Minister Coveney has been working closely, on a daily basis, with the agricultural industry to ensure farmers are receiving the supports they need to get through this difficult period. While the weather has improved somewhat, grass growing conditions remain poor, and it is clear that farmers are going to need extra help in the coming weeks.
“Last week, the Minister announced the imported fodder scheme, and already more than 3,500 tonnes of hay have been brought into the country, with significant volumes due in the next few days. To meet the high level of demand from farmers, Minister Coveney has extended the scheme until Friday 10th May.
“Maize silage is also now eligible under the scheme, with 6,000 tonnes of it currently being sourced for early delivery to Ireland.
“I know this imported fodder is making a real difference to farmers, and I know it is vitally important that we continue to monitor this situation extremely closely to ensure the agricultural community is given adequate support,” Deputy Hayes said.
“I would like to commend the various farming organisations for their efforts, in particular, the IFA must be commended for its decision to make a €1 million Fodder Crisis Fund available.
“The fodder crisis requires a concerted co-ordinated approach. As well as introducing the imported Fodder Transport Scheme, the Minister has been working with the banks and Co-ops to ensure they are offering credit to farmers who need it.
“The pillar banks and the Co-ops have reassured the Minister that they have made additional overdraft and short-term loan facilities available. The Dairy Co-ops are also offering interest-free credit for fertilizer purchased during the month of May and reduced prices in respect of feed supplies of meal.”