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O’Neill secures additional £1million for fodder crisis

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill said today the Executive has agreed an additional £1million to help farmers facing difficulties with fodder shortages.
Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Minister said that she had brought the problems of the industry to the attention of the Executive.

The Minister explained: “We have a current crisis: more than twice as many fallen cattle were processed in April compared with last year; milk production which normally peaks during the first week of May is almost 12% below the previous five year average; there is little to no silage, and forage and replacement rations are trading at extremely high cost; farmers are depressed and for instance wives are ringing in for advice rather than the farmers themselves.”

She said that Executive had accepted her case for additional funding, and officials would now work with the industry to determine how the funding would be used.

The Executive also today approved the second element of the hardship funding measures to help farmers worst affected by the snow storm over the weekend of 22 to 24 March.

The Minister added: “Today’s Executive approval of my proposals for a Hardship Payment Scheme will help to mitigate the costs of the livestock losses that have been sustained by farmers arising from the snow storm. This will be under the EU de minimis rules and capped at a maximum of 7,500 euro per farmer, including the collection and disposal costs of the fallen animals.

“Farmers, who lost livestock as a result of the snow storm and who had fallen stock disposed of during the relevant period by approved renderers, will be eligible for the hardship funding.”

Minister O’Neill continued: “This funding will be based on loss at individual farm level and will take account of actual level and nature of losses experienced. Farmers will not need to apply for this funding. It is envisaged that eligible farmers will receive letters in early June indicating their hardship entitlement and how to claim.

“I would encourage all farmers to respond promptly to these letters once received.”

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