HAVING witnessed first-hand the significant difficulties and losses experienced by farmers in areas flooded in recent weeks, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, has launched a scheme of assistance for farmers who have suffered fodder losses as a result of the severe flooding in recent weeks.
This new scheme was agreed at the Government meeting on Tuesday and the Minister confirmed that the scheme will target farmers impacted by flooding who will be offered support based on the replacement costs of fodder damaged on their holding. He stated: ‘I am committed to supporting these farmers and in this regard Government have agreed to provide up to €2 million for the new fodder scheme.’ This support will apply to the loss of silage, hay, straw and concentrates where there is evidence of damage caused by flooding and where the losses are not covered by insurance.
Mr Coveney confirmed that application forms for the Fodder Scheme will be available on his Department’s website from Thursday, January 7th, and from the Department’s local office network. Application forms will also be available from Teagasc offices where advisors will continue to provide one-to-one advice to those impacted by flooding.
On-farm visits will be undertaken by Department personnel in the case of all applicants for assistance under the Fodder Scheme to confirm the quantities of fodder lost due to the flooding. The closing date for applications will be Friday, January 22nd, with the objective of ensuring swift payments.
Minister Coveney confirmed that over 100 farmers had already benefited under the provisions of the Emergency Welfare scheme with almost 300 tonnes of concentrate allocated to date. The Minister concluded: ‘In particular, I would like to mention the tremendous community spirit of neighbours and the collaborative effort of all the agencies involved in supporting everyone affected by the flooding.
‘I would like to acknowledge in particular the assistance farmers have provided to their neighbours in terms of providing transport and access to flooded properties.’
ICSA president Patrick Kent has cautiously welcomed the announcement of additional funding for those most affected by flooding. However, he questioned whether there will be sufficient funds to cover the widespread damage: Farmers have been calling for urgent practical and financial help so our hope would be that these schemes will be delivered promptly to those in need.’
Meanwhile, commenting on the frustrations of farmers affected by flooding, ICMSA president John Comer said: ‘The start of a solution has to be a single national waterways authority and a realisation that we’re going to have to dredge rivers and clear trees and other obstacles to the flow – and if that means the fish are discommoded then I’m afraid that’s the price we’re going to have to pay.’