IFA President John Bryan has criticised the decision of the Department of Agriculture not to extend the transport subsidy scheme on imported fodder to livestock marts and private merchants, in order to alleviate the fodder crisis across the country.
John Bryan said, “There is a huge effort being made to sources supplies of forage in the UK and elsewhere, and get them over here. The dairy co-ops have done an excellent job, but they cannot reach everybody who is short of feed”.
John Bryan called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to immediately extend the subsidised transport scheme to livestock co-op marts and private merchants, who are already in the process of importing hay from the UK and are equally entitled to support.
John Bryan said, “It is important to point out that there are a very large number of farmers and regions which are not serviced by dairy co-ops. In many areas, the livestock marts and the private merchants play a very important role in servicing farmers and we are strongly of the view that the subsided transport scheme must be extended to cover them”.
The IFA President said this is an urgent issue and it is very important that assistance is available to all sectors and regions including the drystock sector.
John Bryan re-iterated his call on the Minister to bring forward direct payments to help address the the severe cashflow problems on farms as a result of the ten months of dreadful weather. The Minister must also ensure there is flexibility in relation to stocking rates criteria for eligibility for the Disadvantaged Areas scheme.
The IFA President encouraged all farmers with surplus feed to release it to the market now and continue to help out neighbours where possible. He again commended the efforts of all the stakeholders involved in helping farm families get through this very difficult period.