Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (497)

Heather Humphreys

Question:

497. Deputy Heather Humphreys asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the practical steps and short to medium term interventions that can be and are being taken by his Department and TEAGASC to work towards trying to ensure that the fodder crisis that affected the farming community does not happen again to the same extent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30014/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

It is important that we do as much as we can over the next few months to ensure that Irish farmers are not faced with the same issues and difficulties next Winter as experienced earlier this year in sourcing adequate fodder for their animals. Accordingly, Teagasc’s Interagency Fodder Committee is currently monitoring the fodder situation while also examining and co-ordinating the next steps required to ensure that there is a strategic approach to fodder production and conservation to ensure continuity of supply.

I have also asked the Interagency Fodder Committee to report to the High Level Implementation Committee of Food Harvest 2020 which I chair, on the outlook for the rest of this year and also to detail the actions being taken to ensure adequate fodder is available for next Winter.

It is also important that farmers are maximising grass production and fodder conservation in the coming period and I have asked Teagasc to prioritise this policy in their advisory campaigns over the summer months. In this context, adjustments to the Nitrates regulations recently agreed with the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government will provide support to farmers to maximise grass growth and conservation into next Autumn.