In light of the difficulties experienced by farmers in sourcing fodder supplies in April / May 2013, I announced the allocation of funding for an imported fodder transport scheme, designed to reduce the cost to farmers of imported forage (hay, silage, haylage) from outside the island of Ireland. The aid substantially covered the cost of transport into the country, thus reducing the cost to farmers of a bale of hay by approximately one third.
While I initially allocated a sum of €1 million, it quickly became apparent that a larger allocation would be necessary and I then increased the budget to €2 million. I can confirm that total expenditure is expected to be in the region of €2.8 million.
In excess of 18,000 farmers benefited under the Imported Fodder Transport Scheme, under which, to date, payments worth some €2.5 million have issued.
While the Scheme operated through the co-operatives, marts and other approved agencies, the actual beneficiaries are the individual farmers and primary producers who needed urgent supplies of feed. Operating the scheme in this manner was the quickest and most effective way of getting the fodder to those who needed it. It will be appreciated that Data Protection precludes the publication of details of individual beneficiaries.
Of the 79 different entities which participated in the Scheme, to date, 61 have been fully processed and paid in full, with a further 8 having received a 75% advance payment. The balancing payment will issue to these entities once all outstanding issues are resolved. These have been contacted directly and are working with my Department to resolve the outstanding issues.