9 FEBRUARY 2018
Following a meeting with Teagasc officials in Longford today (9 Feb) on the Fodder Transport Scheme, ICSA is urging farmers to complete a Forage Budget form through their local Teagasc office or FAS approved advisor in order for the scheme to be fully activated in affected counties.
Commenting on today’s meeting ICSA Cavan chairman Hugh Farrell said, “For regions or whole counties to access the scheme, local Teagasc officials have to be satisfied that adequate fodder is not available locally and must be transported in from another part of the country. The only way they can be satisfied of this need is through farmers completing a Forage Budget form in sufficient numbers.”
“This means that farmers who wish to access the scheme are prohibited from doing so if enough of their county neighbours haven’t also expressed a need. Essentially, farmers are operating in the dark with regards to this scheme as it will not be activated in an area until a magic, undisclosed number has been reached.”
ICSA Sligo chairman Gabriel Gilmartin added, “ICSA believes that this goes against the whole spirit of the scheme which was to help farmers in dire need and to prevent animal welfare issues down the line. The Department needs to reconsider the overly restrictive parameters of the scheme and open it up to any farmer who needs fodder.”
This was echoed by Jim Harrison, ICSA Connacht/Ulster VP, who said, “There is no reason for the scheme not to be fully operational. Those of us in the border counties can’t wait any longer.”