Ahead of the next meeting of the Department of Agriculture’s Fodder Action Group in Sligo tomorrow, IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy said any transport support scheme the Minister puts in place will have to be practical and effective in dealing with the crisis.
Richard Kennedy will lead an IFA delegation at tomorrow’s meeting and was responding to reports that details of a transport subsidy will be brought forward by the Department.
He said, “It appears that Minister Creed has finally recognised that something has to be done. Whatever scheme is put in place, it is imperative that it is up and running without delay, that it is practical and not excessively bureaucratic”.
In the absence of any response to the crisis from the Minister, IFA had mobilised its national county and branch network to support those farmers in most difficulty. Counties have been twinned to identify farmers who are in a position to contribute hay or silage that can be transported to areas in need and provided at a reasonable cost.
Richard Kennedy said, “The survey undertaken by Teagasc has clearly established that 85% of farmers in the north-west region are affected by fodder shortages and have, on average, less than half of the fodder they need for the winter. That is a very stark situation for the farmers affected”.
“Our view is that a feed voucher scheme for concentrated feed/meal would have been the most efficient way to address this problem. While there is no doubt that farmers in some counties have some surplus fodder, it is costly to transport it and it is far from certain that there is sufficient fodder to address the problem in the worst affected areas. However, a transport support scheme would be welcome so long as it is operable and put in place quickly,” he said.