Advance payments to farmers under next year’s Fodder Support Scheme have commenced, the Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue has announced.
he 67,451 farmers that submitted their applications to the 2023 scheme before December 5 will receive an advance payment of 57pc of their total payment.
This compares to 71,000 farmers who applied for the 2022 Fodder Support Scheme.
The counties with the most recipients for next year’s scheme are Galway (6,805), Mayo (6284), Cork (5,689) and Roscommon (4,227).
Dublin has the least amount of recipients under the scheme with 218 eligible applicants, followed by Louth (695), Kildare (935) and Carlow (962).
The 2023 Scheme is a continuance of the 2022 Fodder Support Scheme and aims to incentivise farmers, particularly drystock farmers, to grow fodder (silage and/or hay) in 2023 to ensure the maximum amount of cattle and sheep feed is grown.
Successful applicants for the 2022 Fodder Support Scheme were eligible to apply for the 2023 Scheme.
Under the scheme, if an applicant fails to deliver some or all of the scheme requirements in 2023, recoupment of some or all of the monies already paid will apply. The Department has warned that applicants need to be mindful of this when cutting silage and/or hay in 2023 on the areas declared in the scheme.
When announcing the advance payments, Minister McConalogue said that in the event the price of agricultural inputs remains high in 2023, he will be seeking additional funding for the scheme.
The scheme’s online system will reopen in May/June 2023 when applicants will have an opportunity to amend the area declared for the scheme.
Where the scheme is oversubscribed, the payment rate per hectare will be less than €100 per hectare. In this scenario, the Department will reduce the payment rate for all hectares or maintain the rate of €100 per hectare on the first few hectares and reduce it on the latter hectares.
Balancing payments will be made in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to the Department.
“These (advance) payments, along with the 2022 Fodder Support Scheme payments issued in recent weeks, will further assist farmers in dealing with the increase in agricultural input costs, in particular for chemical fertliliser, and the impact that will have on the quantity of fodder produced and conserved next year,” said Minister McConalogue.
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