Minister must include fodder from NI in transport subsidy – Brendan Smith

Fodder PQs Fodder PMB April 2018

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has expressed his serious disappointment following the Agriculture Minister’s refusal to include the cost of transporting fodder from Northern Ireland under the Fodder Transport Support Scheme.

Speaking in Dáil Éireann on Tuesday Deputy Brendan Smith appealed to Minister Creed to reconsider his decision

“Farmers along the border are under serious pressure as a result of the Minister’s refusal to take action to address the fodder crisis.  They’ve now been forced to buy fodder in Northern Ireland to replenish their stocks but this does not qualify for the Fodder Transport Support Scheme”, said Deputy Smith.

“I understand substantial quantities of fodder are still available in the North and it makes sense for farmers along the border to source their feed as locally as possible.  I am therefore calling on the Minister to include these co-operatives in the Fodder Transport Support Scheme so that farmers can get easy access to the feed they need and not be reliant on other farmers, who themselves may be facing a shortage.

“These measures, which would have negligible expenditure consequences, are essential and I appeal to the Minister to consider them.  I, along with many of my Fianna Fáil colleagues, had been flagging the fodder issues as far back as last July and August, when cattle were already being housed indoors as a result of the bad weather conditions.  Many farmers across Cavan and Monaghan were unable to make a second cut and there was an obvious fodder shortage.

“Before Easter there had been hopes that the weather would improve, but over that weekend we saw torrential rain, which has once again pushed back the possibility of growth and reduced the chances of getting cattle back into the fields.

“Fianna Fáil and all the farm organisations have outlined specific measures that need to be implemented.  We need action from the Government on a variety of fronts. Farmers are at the pin of their collars; the fodder crisis is costing about €1000 per week. Rural Ireland needs to see a strong and detailed response to their needs and the Minister and the government need to act now”, concluded Deputy Brendan Smith.