Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Ceisteanna (191)

Brendan Smith


191. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if payment will be made to farmers in respect of the transport costs of purchased fodder in circumstances in which farmers had to source fodder supplies long distances from their farms and such supplies were bought in advance of the introduction of the transport subsidy; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that some farmers in areas such as counties Cavan and Monaghan had to buy fodder from early 2018 due to cattle being housed early in the autumn of 2017 and the lack of a second cut of silage necessitated the purchase of fodder for many farmers from January 2018 onwards; if such cases will be included under the transport scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18294/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

In response to the problems experienced in parts of the West and North-West in the late autumn and winter I took a number of steps to address issues around the availability of fodder. I introduced a targeted ‘Fodder Transport Support measure’ on 29 January 2018 to provide additional assistance to those livestock farmers in parts of the West and North West severely affected by on-going fodder shortages. The main purpose of the measure was to support the cost of transporting fodder between those areas where it was plentiful and those where it was scarce.

The continuation of cold wet weather throughout March resulted in a serious delay to the onset of spring. Grass growth remained negligible, ground stayed wet and livestock had to remain housed in many cases. This resulted in the fodder problem extending countrywide with a consequent tightening of fodder availability nationally.

In response, I extended the Fodder Transport Support measure to all counties and also introduced a Fodder Import Support Measure, to ensure that there was adequate fodder available to feed the national herd.

However it is not possible to retrospectively include farmers as eligible for support during the period in advance of the introduction of these schemes.