CLARE farmers will benefit from a long-awaited national fodder transport subsidy, which was announced by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed today (Wednesday).
As high volumes of rainfall continue to leave heavier land in parts of West and North Clare saturated, this announcement will provide some comfort to local farmers, who have been worst hit by the fodder crisis.
Clare IFA chairman Willie Hanrahan and Clare ICMSA chairman Martin McMahon have consistently called for a fodder transport subsidy and a meal voucher system to ease the plight of farmers, who are running out of fodder.
Minister Creed acknowledged that a key issue to resolve was the cost of transporting fodder between those areas where it was plentiful and those where it was scarce.
“Fodder remains available across the country but I am conscious of the significant additional cost to farmers, where fodder has to be transported over significant distance to areas where it is most needed. This measure builds on my early supports to farmers through prioritisation of farm payments last autumn and the additional availability of advisory support to farmers in these areas by Teagasc to facilitate fodder budgeting over the recent period,” he said.
The fodder transport subsidy will provide a financial contribution of €8 and €12 per bale of standard fodder towards the additional cost of transporting it from the east and south of the country to the affected areas of the west and north-west. Farmers will still pay the cost of the fodder in the normal way.
To ensure that normal local trade in fodder is not disrupted, a minimum transport distance of 100km will apply.
In order to be eligible for support under this measure, a farmer must demonstrate a significant shortfall of fodder on the holding, as verified by a recognised agricultural advisor and only the shortfall in fodder will be eligible to receive support under the transport measure.
Full details on the operation of the measure, including application forms and department contact details, will issue shortly
ICSA president Patrick Kent stressed that red tape must be minimised and the priority must be for money to flow into the scheme as soon as possible