Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, has confirmed that it will “not be possible” to pay the silage/hay measure in advance.
That is what the minister told Independent TD, Danny Healy-Rae, when he raised a parliamentary question in relation to the scheme, which will see farmers receive up to €1,000 for up to 10ha of silage or hay.
Deputy Healy-Rae said farmers are under “savage” pressure with the increased costs of fertiliser, fuel, and electricity.
He said that while he welcomes the €1,000 payment, it is “not an awful lot, but is a lot in a way”.
He urged the minister to “do something” for the farmers who cannot grow their own fodder.
“There are many farmers in east and south Kerry who do not cut their own fodder on their own land because the land is not suitable.”
“Will the Minister include something for those people? Will the payment be made as soon as possible because many farmers just do not have money to carry on?” he asked the minister.
In response, the minister acknowledged that this is “a challenging time” for the cost of inputs, particularly fertiliser.
He said he has “engaged closely” with the fertiliser suppliers to ensure the security of supply. “They have worked very hard to ensure that is the case,” he told the deputy.
He then pointed to the €55m silage/hay growing scheme, which, he says beef farmers, sheep farmers and those with tillage land who grow fodder are eligible for.
He said: “That scheme will be a really important support to encourage farmers to grow. It will be paid in the latter part of the year.”
“Knowing that support will be there gives confidence to the sector to make preparations to grow the grass, grow the fodder and will help to cover the cost of that,” the minister concluded.
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