The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) have called on the Minister for Agriculture to reconvene the fodder action group to sort out the many inconsistencies revealed in the recently announced fodder aid scheme. “We have written to the Minister and the chairman of the stakeholders committee to request an immediate meeting to address the many problems within the scheme”,stated INHFA President Colm O’Donnell.
The INHFA President outlined that a number of core principles have been breached as regards the workings of the fodder scheme,
• The Minister has ignored the unanimous recommendation by the stakeholders action group that a meal voucher scheme be put in place,
• The Department of Agriculture and the Co operatives have jointly engaged in price fixing, setting a massively inflated price that farmers must pay for bales in order to benefit from the haulage subsidy.
• Local license hauliers who traditionally source and supply fodder for farmers in the northwest have been sidelined forcing their traditional customers to turn their back and deal with co-operatives,
• A 100 km zone created which rules out sourcing quality fodder within the region.
• Square bales have been excluded from aid under the scheme which discriminates against many farmers in designated areas who can only feed small square bales of hay to out-wintered stock where feeding round bales in ring feeders is not allowed.
Concluding the hill farmers leader stated,”We need a response to our request from Minister Creed before next Tuesday 6th when INHFA national council will decide if further action is required on behalf of our members.”