Fodder from Britain being unloaded at an Irish co-op
The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., has announced that he has allocated €1.5 million towards the introduction of a Fodder Import Support measure.
“In light of poor weather conditions and an evolving fodder supply challenge across the country, I am introducing a support measure contributing to the cost of importing fodder from abroad.”
The Minister added: “I welcome the moves to import fodder by the co-operatives and this measures supports this initiative. The co-operative ethos remains very strong and vibrant in Irish Agriculture.”
This measure is being introduced with immediate effect to reduce the cost to farmers of imported forage (hay, silage, haylage etc.) from outside the island of Ireland. The measure will operate through the dairy Co-operatives. It will cover forage imported by the co-ops from April 5 to April 30 and will be subject to EU State Aid (de-minimis) rules. Support under the measure will substantially reduce the cost to farmers of imported fodder by approximately one third. This initial allocation will support the importation of up to 20,000 tons of fodder into the country and this will be kept under ongoing review until the current crises is over.
The Minister stressed that while the measure will operate through the dairy Co-operatives, the actual beneficiaries will be farmers who urgently need supplies of forage. Minister Creed added: “This measure will largely replicate the straightforward approach adopted in 2013 whereby a farmer approached a participating Co-op, purchased fodder and my Department subsequently paid the transport support element to the Co-op”.
Application forms and terms and conditions will be made available through the Co-ops and on the Department’s website.
This further measure builds on a range of supports to the agriculture sector, including the Fodder Transport Support measure introduced last January. Minister Creed also took the opportunity to enhance the flexibility of this measure in light of the on-going weather difficulties. Specifically, the Minister said that this national measure would now apply to all counties with immediate effect, remove the need for a fodder budget and the minimum distance requirement would be reduced to 50 km. The reduction in minimum transport distance will provide greater flexibility in both sourcing and supplying fodder but will ensure that the measure, which is a transport support, continues to respect the normal local trading arrangements that apply in the case of fodder.
Regarding GLAS, the Minister has announced an extension to the closing date for grazing livestock on land containing the Traditional Hay Meadow action under the scheme. Grazing by livestock is now permitted up to May 1 this year.