Fodder Shortage: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members]

The following motion was moved by Deputy Charlie McConalogue on Tuesday, 17 April 2018:
That Dáil Éireann:
notes:
— the major role agriculture plays in creating employment, generating economic activity and acting as a custodian of the countryside in Ireland;
— the unique vulnerability and exposure of agriculture to fluctuations in the weather;
— the ongoing hardship inflicted upon farming communities across Ireland due to the fodder crisis that has been evident in the country since last autumn, and the sacrifices farming families have made to protect their livestock;
— that the complete and utter failure of the Government to address the fodder shortages meant that there were no contingency plans in place, despite Teagasc advising to prioritise the feeding of meal/cereal based concentrates to plug the fodder gap;
— the farcical situation with the Government reaffirming on 4 April 2018 that there was an availability of fodder in the country, while co-operatives were ordering fodder imports from the United Kingdom on the very same day;
— that due to inaction, the fodder crisis has become a national emergency, putting a huge strain on farmers' mental health and creating animal welfare issues;
— that some farmers are spending €2,500 weekly due to the fodder crisis according to the Irish Farm Accounts Co-operative, while Teagasc estimates reduced profitability for every day that cows are not grazing at between €2.20 and €3 per cow;
— that the fodder transport scheme has failed to address the crisis, as signified by the extremely low uptake and excessive regulatory criteria put on farmers to access the scheme, which had the impact of driving up the demand and price for already scarce domestically sourced fodder;
— the belated move by the Government to open the fodder import support scheme to all co-operatives and private feed merchants; and
— that the Government chose not to include a measure in Ireland's Rural Development Programme, RDP, 2014-2020, which would compensate farmers for losses caused by adverse weather, as is currently permitted; and
calls on the Government to:
— immediately bring forward a hardship fund to help small and medium-sized farmers who have been severely impacted by the fodder crisis;
— introduce a meal voucher scheme for farmers affected;
— swiftly make available low-cost credit for farmers to help pay for the costs of sourcing fodder and concentrates, while immediately finalising and opening the low-cost loan scheme announced over seven months ago in budget 2018;
— ensure all balancing payments for outstanding 2017 RDP scheme payments, such as the green, low-carbon, agri-environment scheme and the sheep welfare scheme, are paid immediately, as farmers' cashflow problems mount;
— dedicate a budget to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine early warning system, which supports farmers at a local level, before any welfare problems occur;
— establish a special standing committee composed of relevant stakeholders to monitor and report to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine quarterly, to keep fodder supplies under review with fail safe measures to ensure that such a crisis does not emerge again;
— temporarily halt all cross-compliance inspections on farms, as well as Bord Bia farm audits;
— include a permanent scheme in the RDP to compensate farmers for losses caused by adverse weather; and
— show flexibility regarding the upcoming 2018 basic payment scheme deadline.
Debate resumed on amendment No. 2:
To delete all words after “That Dáil Eireann” and substitute the following:
“notes:
— the major role agriculture plays in creating employment, generating economic activity and acting as a custodian of the countryside in Ireland;
— the competitive advantage Ireland has in sustainable livestock production, particularly dairy, beef and sheep farming, based on a grass-based production system, which is both relatively low cost and carbon efficient;
— the shared Food Wise 2025 strategy for the development of the sector, which highlights the opportunities to grow the value of farm output, value added and agrifood exports, growth that must be managed in an environmentally sustainable manner;
— the unique vulnerability and exposure of agriculture to fluctuations in the weather;
— the ongoing hardship due to fluctuations in the weather and the sacrifices farming families have made to protect their livestock;
— the role the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Teagasc, co-operatives, farming organisations and farmers have played in working through this challenging period;
— the securing of an increased advance payment in October 2017, under Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 of the Common Agriculture Policy, CAP;
— the payment of €1.6 billion in CAP direct payments to Irish farmers, before the end of 2017, providing an important source of income support for farm families;
— that for the first time in winter-spring of 2017-18, under the new sheep welfare scheme, advance payments totalling €16 million issued to sheep farmers, with a further €3 million to issue in the coming weeks, providing valuable support to the sheep sector;
— the securing of an additional €25 million in budget 2018, for payments under the areas of natural constraint, ANC, scheme, where the highest level of support is targeted at those who are faced with the highest level of constraint on their land, bringing the total amount allocated to the 2018 ANC scheme to €227 million;
— the prioritisation by Teagasc of the provision of direct support to these farmers through fodder budgeting and nutritional advice not only then, but throughout the winter and spring;
— the convening of a stakeholder group chaired by Teagasc, comprising all the main stakeholders including feed merchants and co-operatives, banking and farm bodies, to monitor the fodder situation; and
— the timely introduction of a targeted fodder transport scheme to address the shortage of supplies of fodder in the north and north west, in January of this year; and
further notes:
— that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine is in regular contact with all of the stakeholders following the introduction of this scheme;
— the timely introduction of a fodder import support scheme to cover all co-operatives and importers approved by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to import fodder;
— the extension of the deadline for the submission of nitrates derogation applications until 30 April 2018;
— the extension of grazing under the traditional hay meadows, THM, measure in the green, low-carbon, agri-environment scheme until 1 May 2018;
— the securing of a commitment towards flexibility in the 'three-crop rule’ under greening requirements in Pillar 1 of CAP;
— the availability of rapid emergency feed assistance to any farmer facing immediate feed shortage, through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine animal welfare helpline that supports the farm animal welfare advisory council's early warning-intervention system, EWS;
— the need to ensure that farmers are adequately equipped with the necessary knowledge and advice to deal with fluctuations in the weather and to keep fodder supplies under review;
— the one-to-one assistance being provided to farmers by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to lodge their basic payment scheme applications;
— the continuous monitoring of the situation by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and Teagasc; and
— the increased regularity of severe weather events and the need to consider the inclusion of appropriate risk management tools, to mitigate against the impacts of such events on farming enterprises in the next iteration of the CAP."
(Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Andrew Doyle)

I must now deal with a postponed division relating to the motion on the fodder shortage. On Wednesday, 18 April 2018, on the question that the amendment to the motion be agreed to, a division was claimed, and in accordance with Standing Order 70(2), that division must be taken now.

Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 50; Níl, 85; Staon, 0.

  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Daly, Jim.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Halligan, John.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Mitchell O'Connor, Mary.
  • Moran, Kevin Boxer.
  • Murphy, Dara.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Níl

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Breathnach, Declan.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Browne, James.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Casey, Pat.
  • Cassells, Shane.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Chambers, Lisa.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Coppinger, Ruth.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Curran, John.
  • Daly, Clare.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Stephen S.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Fitzmaurice, Michael.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Harty, Michael.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Lahart, John.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Jonathan.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Loughlin, Fiona.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Frank.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Bríd.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Wallace, Mick.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Maria Bailey and Seán Canney; Níl, Deputies Michael Moynihan and John Lahart.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 1:

(a) to insert the following after "as is currently permitted; and":

"— that this fodder crisis started last September 2017, when land became so waterlogged due to the severe weather that farmers, particularly in the north west, were unable to operate machinery on the land and failed to get a second cut of silage or hay;"

and

(b) to insert the following after "2018 basic payment scheme deadline."

"— introduce a land improvement and drainage scheme that would:

— help prevent land from becoming waterlogged;

— make land more accessible for harvesting silage and hay; and

— help to increase early grass growth."

Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 86; Níl, 50; Staon, 0.

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Breathnach, Declan.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Browne, James.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Casey, Pat.
  • Cassells, Shane.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Chambers, Lisa.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Coppinger, Ruth.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Curran, John.
  • Daly, Clare.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Stephen S.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Fitzmaurice, Michael.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Funchion, Kathleen.
  • Harty, Michael.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kelleher, Billy.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Lahart, John.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Jonathan.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Keeffe, Kevin.
  • O'Loughlin, Fiona.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Frank.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Pringle, Thomas.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Scanlon, Eamon.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smith, Bríd.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Wallace, Mick.

Níl

  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Breen, Pat.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Peter.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Daly, Jim.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Halligan, John.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Mitchell O'Connor, Mary.
  • Moran, Kevin Boxer.
  • Murphy, Dara.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Denise Mitchell; Níl, Deputies Maria Bailey and Seán Canney.
Amendment declared carried.
Motion, as amended, agreed to.