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Coveney Extends Imported Fodder Transport Scheme

Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD announced today that he has extended the duration of the Imported Fodder Transport Scheme for one week. The scheme will now run until Friday 10th May.

The Minister also today confirmed that maize silage is eligible under the scheme. He said his Department has been working with the industry on this and said that large quantities of maize silage up to 6,000 tons are currently being sourced for early delivery to this country. Minister Coveney commended the Dairy co-ops for their work over the past two weeks. “I am delighted that the Dairy Co-ops have introduced a number of extremely helpful initiatives such as interest free credit for fertilizer purchased during the month of May and reduced prices in respect of feed supplies of meal.”

The Minister also paid tribute to the farmers and farm organisations that have gone to such great efforts to help their fellow farmers in need of fodder. “Since the scheme was announced just one week ago over 300 loads of fodder have been imported and distributed to farmers to keep them going. At this point, over 3,500 tons of hay has been imported into the country with significant volumes due in over the coming days. I am satisfied that this volume of imports is making a real difference on farms and assisting farmers through the shortage. The extension of the scheme of a further week will build on this and ensure that further supplies are imported with the benefit of the transport subsidy”.

Apart from this initiative on the fodder transport scheme, the Minister has addressed the issue of credit facilities with the banks and the co-ops. The banks have been requested to take a flexible approach towards extending credit to farmer customers at this difficult time. The co-ops responded already with the introduction of interest free credit to farmers for the purchase of fertiliser in the month of May, which will be a key component in addressing this year’s fodder problem.

''The weather has improved somewhat but grass growing conditions are still below normal and there are farmers in parts of the country who are still finding it difficult to locate enough forage for their animals. Having reviewed the situation, I have decided that extending the imported fodder transport scheme for one week is appropriate” the Minister said.

Calls continue to be received from herdowners on the Department’s emergency animal welfare helpline and are being referred to the Co-operatives for access to feed and or to the Department’s veterinary personnel as appropriate. Department Veterinary Inspectors continue to be actively engaged in providing emergency assistance under the Department’s early warning system to farmers whose animals are currently experiencing serious welfare issues and where the farmer him/herself is unable to cope with the situation.

The Minister reminded farmers that the animal welfare emergency assistance continues to operate where animal welfare is seriously at risk at the emergency helpline number - 1850 21 19 90 (Low-call).

Concluding, Minister Coveney repeated his assertion of last week, ''No animal should die of starvation in this country and help is available to those farmers who cannot cope'' said the Minister.

Further information on the scheme is available from the Department website.

http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/animalhealthwelfare/fodderassistanceapril2013/

Date Released: 01 May 2013