Farmers' association calls for doubling of fodder import subsidy

The IFA says many farmers are now at 'breaking point' due to the ongoing fodder crisis

Farmers' association calls for doubling of fodder import subsidy

Photo: Eamonn Farrell/

The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) is calling for a doubling of government supports for farmers who are struggling due to the fodder crisis.

It wants the import subsidy increased from €60 to €120 per bale of fodder.

The association says last night's heavy rainfall in many areas is making the situation worse - suggesting many farmers are now at 'breaking point'.

A meeting of the IFA's National Council is also calling for the removal of red tape surrounding the fodder scheme.

It says it's time for the Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to make good on a promise to make more funding available if needed.

In a statement, IFA President Joe Healy said: “The Minister has said that more funding for the scheme would be provided if it was needed.

"The unanimous and strongly-held view of our Council members today is that more is needed and it is needed now.”

He also suggested that the subsidy should go straight to co-ops, rather than farmers having to apply individually.

Mr Healy argued: "This will avoid farmers having to pay the cost upfront and overcome the massive bureaucracy that is crippling the movement of fodder.”

"Caught totally cold"

A number of major co-ops have imported fodder for members as a result of the ongoing shortages in Ireland.

Fianna Fáil, meanwhile, is bringing forward private members' motions in both the Seanad and Dáil, calling for a more urgent government response to the crisis.

The party's agriculture spokesperson Charlie McConalogue argued: "The Government has been caught totally cold in relation to the response on this issue.

"Michael Creed spent most of the winter denying that there was any problem with a fodder shortage in the country - despite the fact that Fianna Fáil and farming organisations were warning him on several occasions that he needed to be prepared."