Creed rejects fodder criticism
■ Minister rejects criticisms, saying ‘dynamic’ situation is being tackled
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has rejected criticism of his department’s response to the fodder crisis, saying it will be tackled.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed has strongly def ended the Government’ s handling of the fodder crisis.
Speaking to farmers during a delivery of fodder at the Dairygold Co-op branch in Millstreet, Co Cork, Mr Creed said every effort was being made to remedy the “dynamic” and “changing” situation.
The minister has been criticised by farming organisations and opposition parties who claim his Department had been warned of severe shortages of fodder across the country for many weeks but failed to act until the last minute.
However, Mr Creed said the Department of Agriculture had brought forward the date for the Single Farm Payment in October and made the maximum payment permitted at the time.
He also defended the decision not to import fodder earlier.
“If we had started importing at an earlier stage and we had got an early or a normal spring?,” he said. “What we have been doing all along is dealing with a dynamic situation which is changing on an almost weekly basis.
“We are working with all of the stakeholders including the co-ops, Teagasc, individual farm organisations and taking it as appropriate at any given time.
“What we have announced now is a financial package until the end of the month. At the end of the month it will be reviewed and we will continue to support the transport costs with the coops for as long as is necessary.”
Mr Creed said a similar scheme rolled out in 2013 began in April and continued right through until June.
He said that, “if necessary, we will stick with it as long as that”.
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesman Charlie McConalogue called for the Fodder Import Subsidy Scheme to be made available through all co-ops as well as private feed merchants.
“The scheme is inexplicably confined to the dairy coops and excludes mart co-ops as well as private feed merchants,” he said.
“This means that many parts of the country which do not have a strong dairy coop network will struggle to avail of fodder through the scheme.
“In particular, the minister’s decision to confine the subsidy to dairy co-op would disadvantage those in the suckler and sheep farming sectors that are also under massive pressure to source scarce fodder to manage livestock through the next few weeks.”
He added that, in 2013, all co-ops were eligible to avail of the subsidy scheme introduced to import fodder and claimed that it makes no sense that Mr Creed would now exclude mart co-ops and private feed merchants that are “well placed” to serve the needs of their local farming community.
The River Blackwater bursts its banks in Mallow, Co Cork, leaving the town park road flooded.
Waves crashing over Roonagh Pier, Co Mayo yesterday.
Banteer farmer Eddie Taffee collects two bails for his 200 cattle.
Cattle fodder unloaded at the Dairygold branch in Millstreet, Co Cork.
A truck gets through the floods on the R579 near Muskerry Golf Club, Cork.
The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, meets Banteer farmer Tony Dunlea.