Measures to help drought-struck farmers

Pasture lamb farmer drought-struckA curious lamb looking over the fence of a lush pasture. Photo: Pixabay.com

Additional crisis measures to help drought-struck farmers

The Ministry of Agriculture, in co-operation with the farmers’ organizations, introduces another ten measures to help drought-struck farmers.

 

Minister of Agriculture, Jon Georg Dale (Progress Party), presented the measures following a crisis meeting with the Farmers Union and The Farmers and Small Farmers’ Association on Monday afternoon.

While many enjoy the high temperatures in southern Norway this summer, the worst drought since 1947 has led to a feed situation far below normal.

– We have experienced an extremely demanding summer. This drought has been challenging for many farmers, and especially for livestock producers, Dale says.

Several dispensations

The authorities have already introduced several measures, but now they take even further action.

– We are facing a situation of weather forecasts which indicate that we can not hope for extremely large third crops, which could normally save the situation, Dale continues.

He launched ten measures that will provide help to farmers.

Among other things, provision will be made for exemption on the demand for feed on pasture, and advance compensation on destroyed crops will be increased to 70 per cent of the total. At the same time, several control stations are set up so that imported feed can be unloaded at more ports.

The Government wishes to make it possible for farmers to use food grain as seed for next year, something the Farmers Co-op (Felleskjøpet) has proposed. An exemption is also granted so that ecological farmers can use their areas for feed and grazing, and still receive subsidies.

Come a long way

The drought has meant that many farmers have had to buy feed from abroad in order to have enough to feed their animals. At the same time, the slaughterhouses report of a great deal of pressure from farmers who have to slaughter their livestock due to the feed shortage.

Leader if Norway’s Farmers Union, Lars Petter Bartnes, has the following comment after the meeting, which lasted half an hour longer than planned:

– We have presented concrete measures, and we have come a long way to reach an agreement on regulatory changes that provide room to manoeuvre for the farmer. It’s important that we have the maximum focus on the measures we can do something about

The Minister of Agriculture emphasizes after the meeting that they will continue working with several other proposals that require longer processing time.

– There are several other questions of an economic nature. We will perform professional work in the coming weeks and form the basis for subsequent political discussions. We do not resolve this today, but continues with constructive dialogue with the agricultural organizations, Dale says.

Psychically difficult

Merete Furuberg of the Norwegian Farmers’ and Small Farmers’ Association (NBS) says that she feels that the authorities care and take steps to make the farmer coming better out of this situation.

– We are in a crisis situation that will have long-term effects. A bit remains to be done. We emphasize that the financial situation that the farmers are facing is psychologically difficult. It’s urgent to get this done, she says.

The Meteorologists cannot promise any immediate change in the weather for the drought-stricken farmers.

– East of the Mountains will probably be dry until Friday with temperatures of around 30 degrees centigrade. During the weekend there may be a few heavy showers with thunder, with each providing 5-10 millimetres of rainfall, but there will be large local differences, says Meteorologist at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Eldbjørg Moxnes, to NTB.

– In western Norway and in Trøndelag it seems that there will be some precipitation at the beginning of the week. It will nevertheless only fall between 10 and 15 millimetres of rain, so it will probably still remain quite dry.

Facts about the crisis measures

  • The advance payment for crop damage is increased from 50 to 70 per cent.
  • Priority will be given to rapid processing of applications for crop damage compensation.
  • Farmers will be granted a dispensation from the requirement to gather feed from pastures. This will allow for additional feeding on pasture while the farmer still receives feed support.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture plans to set up temporary control stations for feed imports. Today it is only the Oslo and Borg harbours that are allowed to control the feed, so the ships with imported feed often have to sail unnecessarily far.
  • The Norwegian Food Safety Authority will give priority to the supervision of feed imports and turnover thereof. The requirements for imports of hay and straw from non-EEA countries will also be reviewed.
  • Increased use of straw for feed.
  • The Norwegian Food Safety Authority will process an application to use food grain as seed for the 2019 season.
  • An exemption will be granted to retain grants for organically fertilized areas even if the pasture is used for feed or grazing instead of crops.
  • There will be a dispensation for harvesting area with catch crops while maintaining subsidies for such crops under the Regional Environment Program.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture will ask the Sales Council to assess the need for Felleskjøpet in its capacity as a Market Regulator to build up larger seed stocks.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture, will together with the agricultural organizations, review how the crop damage system can cover future needs.

 

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

 

 

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