Following on from the package of measures announced in recent months to provide support to Irish farmers, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, today launched a €56 million Fodder Support Scheme.
Launching the measure, Minister McConalogue said: “Easing the burden on our farm families as a result of the disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine has been a key priority of mine as Minister as well as the government. Our response to the increase in agricultural input costs, in particular for chemical fertiliser and the impact that will have on the quantity of fodder produced and conserved for the coming winter, I am delighted to launch the Fodder Support Scheme today. This is a crucial scheme which will assist grow fodder stocks in the country to ensure we have adequate stocks for the winter ahead.”
The Scheme aims to incentivise farmers, in particular drystock farmers, to grow more fodder (silage and/or hay) for the coming winter to ensure Ireland does not have any animal welfare issue over the coming winter and next spring. Recent survey results by Teagasc show that half of all drystock farmers have spread no chemical Nitrogen fertiliser at all on their silage ground.
Minister McConalogue added: “The budget for the Fodder Support Scheme is €56 million with a payment rate of up to €100 per hectare. The scheme will be rolled out as a matter of urgency and I hope there will be strong uptake from farmers.”
This is the latest support measure the Minister has put in place for farmers to deal with the impact of the war in Ukraine on input prices. In March, a €12 million Tillage Incentive Scheme was launched to encourage the growing of tillage crops as well as Red Clover and Multi-Species Sward. Two separate supports packages worth €20 million for the pig sector have delivered while a targeted package worth almost €3 million has been put in place for the horticulture and veg sector.
The details of the scheme will be notified to the European Commission in accordance with the Temporary Crisis Framework (TCF) and approval of applications under the measure will be subject to Commission decision on the scheme.
The application system for the scheme will be “live” in the coming days and farmers wishing to apply can do so either themselves or through their advisor up to 2 August 2022.
Finally Minister McConalogue stated: “I urge eligible farmers to apply on time and to ensure they read the Terms and Conditions of the scheme in particular that the areas entered for the scheme must be cut and conserved by 5th September 2022.”
The Scheme aims to incentivise farmers, in particular drystock farmers to grow more fodder (silage and/or hay) for the coming winter to ensure we do not have any animal welfare issue over the coming winter and next spring.
Only farmers with grassland will be eligible to apply and no support will be provided to Milk Suppliers. Tillage land and lands classified as Category 1 land under the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) scheme will not be eligible for support.
The maximum area eligible for payment under the scheme is 10 hectares with a potential maximum payment of €1,000.
Where the scheme is oversubscribed, the payment rate per hectare will be less than €100 per hectare. In this scenario, the department will reduce the payment rate for all hectares or maintain the rate of €100 per hectare on the first few hectares and reduce it on the latter hectares.
Payments will commence in late November 2022 once all administrative, compliance and on the spot inspections have been undertaken and all payments will be made before the end of 2022.
Aid measures developed under the TCF are subject to the Standstill Obligation in compliance with Article 108(3) TFEU. This means that no aid can be granted or paid out before notification to and approval by Commission. In line with the requirements of the Framework, overall aid shall not at any point in time exceed €35,000 per undertaking.