More Needs To Be Done

More Needs To Be Done

Commenting after the announcement of the fodder transport subsidy scheme, MEP Luke Ming Flanagan said that while any level of support was welcome the scheme as it currently stands is limited in scope falls short of what is required.

The lack of a meal voucher scheme to complement the transport subsidy scheme is a major failing and this aspect must be revisited again he said.   Teagasc advice over the years in situations where fodder is scarce and there is a need to stretch supplies, is to feed concentrates with available forage.  As long as the animal has enough fibre in their diet, feeding concentrates is better value for money than maintaining animals on bought in hay or silage alone.

In addition a meal voucher scheme is necessary to ensure that farmers not yet under pressure can extend their existing silage supplies to avert a crisis situation in six weeks’ time.

A further unnecessary complication is the compulsory involvement of the CO-OP’s.  While they will have a role to play and have always supported the farmer there is little rationale in this aspect of the scheme.  If a farmer had a verified shortage of fodder there is no benefit to him/her being obliged to source supplies through the CO-OP.  This only adds to the administration of the scheme and will increase the delay in payments being released.  Equally unnecessary is the 100k distance limit, again if the farmer has a verified shortage of fodder does it matter where it comes from?  Setting arbitrary limits of this nature only serves to distort the market.

Thirdly the department must cover the cost of the approved advisor completing the forage budget, it is of little support to the farmer if he receives €240 as a transport subsidy for 20 bales of silage and then has pay an advisor out of it.

Concluding He summarised three aspects of the scheme that must be reassessed;

  • A meal voucher scheme is imperative to complement the existing transport subsidy.
  • The compulsory nature of the CO-OP involvement and distance limits are unnecessary and should be removed.
  • The department must cover the cost of completing the forage budget.