Independent Clare TD Michael McNamara has criticised the Government for excluding up to 20% of farmland in County Clare from the €55m Fodder Support Scheme.
Under the scheme, farmers in Category 1 Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) land will not be eligible to receive up to €1,000 to make hay and silage.
“As things stand, farmers in areas of Clare such as Slieve Aughty, Slieve Bernagh and Slieve Callan who are farming ANC1 land (formerly categorised as mountain) will not qualify for the payment,” commented Deputy McNamara. “This will come as a terrible blow to these farmers who are already under immense pressure due to the rising cost of fertiliser and fuel. It will also heighten the risk of fodder shortages this coming winter and next spring.”
Deputy McNamara added, “I will be asking the Minister for Agriculture to reconsider this given that this scheme is the Government’s main response to the rising cost of developing fodder this winter.”
Meanwhile, Deputy McNamara has reiterated his call on the Minister for Agriculture to allow temporary adjustments to the conditions of the GLAS scheme which would enable farmers with low-input permanent pasture to cut more hay and silage.
He said rising fertiliser costs, taken together with the GLAS requirement that traditional hay meadows not be cut before 1 July, effectively precluding a second cut, and the outright ban on cutting hay or silage on low-input permanent pasture will exacerbate a national fodder shortage next winter and spring.