The Fodder Transport Subsidy Scheme has received more criticism for it’s “limited scope” and that it “falls short of what is required.”
The scheme, announced last week by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed, aims to provide additional assistance to livestock farmers in the West/North-West most severely affected by the prolonged wet weather last autumn. In many of these cases the inability to conserve fodder was compounded by the need to house livestock much earlier than normal owing the very poor ground conditions.
A financial contribution in the region of €8 to €12 per bale is being provided to offset transport costs of Hay, Silage and Straw for feeding, where this involves a distance of more than 100 km, to areas of the West and North-West most affected.
Farmers, who have an identified fodder shortage, having completed a fodder budgeting exercise with their agricultural advisor, will be eligible to receive a financial contribution towards offsetting the costs of transport of fodder.
Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan says: “The lack of a meal voucher scheme to complement the transport subsidy scheme is a major failing and, this aspect must be revisited again.”
This reiterates Donegal TD Charlie McConalogue’s statement that Minister Creed must provide a meal voucher scheme “as a matter of urgency, before the fodder crisis spirals out of control leaving many family farms in a very precarious situation”.
MEP Flanagan adds that a meal voucher scheme is necessary to ensure that farmers not yet under pressure can extend their existing silage supplies to avert a crisis situation in six weeks time.
Flanagan adds: “The compulsory nature of the CO-OP involvement and distance limits are unnecessary and should be removed. The department must cover the cost of completing the forage budget.”