Creed announces €1.5 million to subsidise imported forage as weather crisis continues

Story by John Donohoe

Thursday, 5th April, 2018 10:41pm

Creed announces €1.5 million to subsidise imported forage as weather crisis continues

Minister Michael Creed.

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, has allocated €1.5 million towards the introduction of a Fodder Import Support measure.

He 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.”  The minister added: “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.’

This measure is being introduced with immediate effect to reduce the cost to farmers of imported forage (hay, silage, haylage) from outside the island of Ireland. The measure will operate through the dairy co-operatives. It will cover forage imported by the co-ops from 5th April to 30th April 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. 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 crisis is over.

The minister stressed that while the measure will operate through the dairy co-operatives, the actual beneficiaries will be farmers who urgently need supplies of forage. Minister Creed added: “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 will be made available through the Co-ops and on the Department’s website from tomorrow. Supplies imported today will be covered. 

This further measure builds on a range of supports to the agriculture sector, including the Fodder Transport Support measure introduced last January. Minister Creed also took the opportunity to enhance the flexibility of this measure in light of the on-going weather difficulties. Specifically, the minister said that this national measure would now apply to all counties with immediate effect, remove the need for a fodder budget and the minimum distance requirement would be reduced to 50 km. The reduction in minimum transport distance will provide greater flexibility in both sourcing and supplying fodder but will ensure that the measure, which is a transport support, continues to respect the normal local trading arrangements that apply in the case of fodder.

Regarding GLAS measures, the Minister has also announced an extension to the closing date for grazing livestock on land containing the Traditional Hay Meadow action under the scheme. Grazing by livestock is now permitted up to 1st May this year.

This additional commitment builds on previous support which included early payment of EU aid last autumn resulting in €1.6 billion in payments before the end of 2017 to farmers under BPS, ANC and Agri-environment scheme, and the introduction of a National Transport support measure in January of this year facilitating the movement of fodder to the North and West.  

The Minister concluded by saying: “The initiatives I have announced today build on the support that Teagasc, industry and my own department have been providing to the farming sector throughout this difficult winter. I will continue to monitor the fodder situation closely and work with all stakeholders until we have successfully come through this trying period.”


How It Works

How do farmers apply?

Farmers should contact their local participating co-op indicating their intention to purchase and volume of fodder requested.

How will payment be made?                   

The Department will pay the participating Co-op a standard contribution towards the cost of transport which in turn will be reflected in the ultimate price to the farmer. This transport contribution to the import cost will amount to approximately one third of the total cost of the fodder.

Which are the participating Co-ops?

A full list of participating Co-ops will be made available on the Department’s website, or from ICOS

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