The Minister for the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., has announced the allocation of €1.5 million towards the introduction of a fodder import support measure.
Minister Creed’s measure will operate through dairy co-operatives and is aimed at reducing the cost to farmers of imported forage, such as hay, silage and haylage, from outside the island of Ireland.
It will cover forage imported by the co-ops from 5-30 April 2018 and will be subject to EU State Aid rules. Support under the measure will substantially reduce the cost to farmers of imported fodder by approximately one third, according to the Department.
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
This comes after the first shipment of emergency animal feed import arrived in Rosslare Harbour yesterday morning due to the worsening fodder shortage in the country as a result of harsh weather conditions.
A long winter and a late spring, along with harsh weather conditions from exceptional events such as Storm Emma have put an increased strain on dairy farmers.
The Irish Farmers Association previously urged that “co-ops need to invest in farmers to help them cope after a horrendously long winter, late spring and a hectic calving season made worse by atrocious weather which left many exhausted and stressed.”
Minister Creed said, “In light of poor weather conditions and an evolving fodder supply challenge across the country, I am immediately introducing a support measure contributing to the cost of importing fodder from abroad.”
”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.”
Dairygold Co-op took on the distribution of yesterday’s shipment, sourced from Britain, to feed ten locations around Munster. There's a substantial amount of further imports is due to arrive over the weekend, with the Ireland's largest dairy processor Glanbia and Co. Cavan-based Lakeland Dairies scheduled to secure animal feed for their members.
The Minister stressed that while the measure will operate through the dairy co-operatives, the actual beneficiaries will be farmers who need urgent supplies of forage.
Minister Creed added that, “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 are made available through the co-ops and on the Department’s website from today, while supplies imported yesterday will be covered, according to the Department.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Kevin Duggan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.