With heavy rains forecast for the coming days, the Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine needs to come forward with a comprehensive set of proposals to address the escalating fodder situation on farms across the country and the response needs to be immediate, according to Mr. Pat McCormack, President of ICMSA.
Unfortunately, the situation is getting worse and at this stage, the Minister and his officials are going to have to realise that many farmers have no fodder left and fodder is simply not available locally for farmers. In terms of a scheme to support the importation of fodder, a similar scheme was in place in 2013 and there should be absolutely no delay in introducing this scheme and amendments to the current fodder scheme should be announced immediately rather than waiting. Everybody knows the issues with these schemes and we need to get on with it said Mr. McCormack.
In relation to other matters, Mr. McCormack said, that the Department and related agencies should adopt the following measures:
- The proposed low interest loan scheme should be opened immediately and farmers struggling with fodder related credit issues should be supported.
- All inspections including Bord Bia audits should be suspended until mid-May at the earliest. There’s enough stress and pressure on farmers at present without the pressure of Cross Compliance/GLAS inspections and audits and these need to be suspended immediately.
- The GLAS conditions in terms of Traditional Hay Meadows and Species Rich Grassland need to be relaxed to allow farmers graze them longer and to allow them to maximise their fodder potential for 2018.
This is a major crisis and Mr. McCormack said, that the Minister needs to act now with clear measures rather than just acknowledging the problem. Farmers are rightly questioning the support of Government in the current crisis and the Minister must respond to show that the Government actually understand the problem and are willing to support farmers. Support is needed and it must come immediately, concluded Mr. McCormack.
ENDS 04 April 2018
Pat McCormack (087) 7608958
ICMSA Head Office (061) 314677.