FINE Gael Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick has welcomed the announcement from the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney that he is extending the imported fodder transport scheme for a further two weeks and doubling the fund to €2 million.
“This will come as welcome relief to farmers in Louth,” Deputy Fitspatrick said.
“Over the last few weeks thousands of bales of fodder have been imported and transported to farmers in need.
“The Minister took the decision to extend the scheme following consultation with those working on the ground. Minister Coveney has consulted with Met Éireann, the Co-ops, the farming organisations and Teagasc to ensure he is getting an accurate picture of what is happening at a local level.
“While there has been some improvement in the weather, conditions remain difficult, and it is clear farmers will need additional assistance in the weeks ahead. This extension will allow farmers and Co-ops to have some certainty around the supply of fodder in the coming weeks. Fodder, eligible under the scheme and delivered into the country in the next two weeks will be covered up to May 24th.
“I have spoken to farmers in Louth/ East Meath over the last number of weeks, who have been under considerable strain trying to cope with the fodder shortages. I know Minister Coveney has been monitoring the situation on a daily basis, and he has met with the main banks and Co-ops to ensure they are making extra credit facilities available.
“There is help and I would encourage any farmer in difficulty to contact the Department of Agriculture’s Animal Welfare Hotline on 1850 21 19 90. It can provide support to in emergency situations.”