Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill said today (18 May) that the Executive’s emergency fodder aid would be available from midnight on Saturday 18 May.
Announcing the opening of the scheme, the Minister said: “I am conscious that many farmers face a crisis today. I am therefore keen to make this support aid available as early as possible. It will apply to all fodder shipped into the north of Ireland from Britain or other EU member states from midnight on Saturday, subject to certain conditions.”
The scheme will be operated by Countryside Services on behalf of the Ulster Farmers’ Union and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. It will provide a subsidy, based on a standard tonnage rate (or an equivalent rate per bale according to size) in respect of forage imported through Belfast, Larne and Warrenpoint where the Department’s Portal staff will certify the imports. The importer will require a completed receipt form from individual farmers who will acknowledge that they intend to use it to remedy a shortage in the immediate future.
The Minister added: “My objective is to increase the supply of feed in the north as quickly as possible. I want assistance to farmers to apply from Saturday midnight so that there is no risk of an interruption in supply of fodder. By taking immediate action, I hope to sustain local farmers who are suffering due to an unprecedented shortage of fodder. The scheme will initially operate until midnight on 31 May 2013, and I will be monitoring conditions closely in the hope that they improve.”
Any farmers who have any immediate queries about the scheme should refer to the Countryside Services website www.countrysiderural.co.uk from the morning of Saturday 18 May 2013.
Further information will be available from Countryside Services on Monday 20 May on 028 87 789770.
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE …………Wednesday 22/5/2013.
Fodder Transport Scheme – rate change
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) has reviewed the intervention rate set for assistance towards transport costs in the Fodder Transport Scheme.
As a result a new rate for silage and haylage of £45/t has been introduced and will apply to fodder material arriving at ports of Belfast, Larne and Warrenpoint from midnight on 22 May until 31 May 2013. The rate for hay and straw will remain unchanged at £90/t.
The scheme being operated by Countryside Services on behalf of the Ulster Farmers’ Union and DARD, opened at the week-end, and since then a significant amount of hay and silage has come into the north through the ports which is easing the situation on many farms. However, sufficient quantities of fodder are still required and will continue to be made available to those farms in most need
Further details on the Fodder Transport Scheme are available from the Countryside Services Limited (CSL) website or by contacting 0845 026 7535