Written Answers. - Fodder Relief Scheme.

Michael Ring

Question:

317 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if any individual farmers participated in the Teagasc survey which the fodder losses compensation payment was based on; and, if so, the different criteria for the survey. [1274/99]

The 1998 fodder scheme was directed at all sheep farmers with mountain grazing and suckler cow producers and small dairy farmers, with milk quotas of less than 35,000 gallons, in district electoral divisions, DEDs, in the worst affected areas. These areas were identified in a Teagasc survey completed in September and several sources of information, including individual farms, were used.

Michael Ring

Question:

318 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the plans, if any, he has to increase the areas in County Mayo that can be compensated under the fodder losses scheme particularly as parts of County Clare have now been included contrary to the Teagasc survey recommendations; and if each application can be examined on its own merits rather than by district electoral area. [1275/99]

I have no plans to extend the 1998 fodder scheme for which all the funds have now been committed. The qualifying DEDs were based primarily on the Teagasc report and the same general procedures for selecting these areas were followed in all counties. However, arising from discussions at the Government meeting earlier this week, my Department and the Department of Finance have already entered into discussions to devise a suitably targeted scheme to assist farmers who are experiencing severe difficulty due to scarcity of fodder. The matter is being pursued with urgency.