Fine Gael Councillor Liam Callaghan has described the new fodder scheme as “a cocktail of bureaucracy”.
He said that many farmers are disappointed with the amount of paperwork and third party involvement in the fodder transport scheme recently unveiled by the Government.
Cllr. Callaghan said that the scheme is intended to help alleviate fodder shortages in the west of the country by subsidising haulage cost from other parts of country where there is a surplus supply.
“The scheme”, he said, “should be a straightforward exercise where farmers would source bales of hay or silage and the haulage cost would be grant-aided to the cost of €12 per bale and in most cases farms would have supplies within a few days”.
Unfortunately, explained Cllr. Callaghan, the Dept. guidelines insist that a farm adviser firstly visits the farm to do an assessment of the fodder needs on the farm, an application is then made to the Dept. of Agriculture who in turn notify the local co-op, and in turn the co-op sources the fodder on behalf of the farmer.
Cllr. Callaghan said he fears it may take three or four weeks to get the scheme up and running properly and in the meantime many farms remain in a fodder crisis.
He added: “I am encouraging farmers to apply immediately for the scheme and I am requesting the Dept. of Agriculture to be more flexible as the current situation is too complicated and possibly putting extra expense on already cash-strapped farmers”.