There is a very serious and growing fodder crisis building up in all parts of the country due to factors completely outside the control of the farmers in question and the Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine must immediately step in with a series of initiatives to help the farmers in question through this crisis situation according to Mr. Pat McCormack, President of ICMSA.
With reports coming from County Executives throughout the country, Mr. McCormack said, that there are a lot of farmers with no fodder left at this stage due to the prolonged winter period and the welfare of the farmer and his/her animals are now of major concern. Animals are being grazed in very difficult conditions as a result and this is likely to further prolong the difficulties when weather conditions improve. It is important, Mr. McCormack said, that farmers, family members, and neighbours support people who are in difficulty and seek help from the relevant state agencies where required and the state agencies must be adequately resourced to help farmers.
The current situation is an exceptional crisis event that requires exceptional crisis measures and Mr. McCormack repeated his call of last week that the Minister should convene an emergency meeting of the relevant stakeholders and state agencies and draw up a list of immediate measures to support farmers in feeding their animals. These measures must include simplifying and expanding the remit of the fodder scheme including the importation of feed and measures to support farmers to source fodder nationally and abroad at this stage given the challenges we face. In addition, the Co-ops and millers need to take a long-term view in terms of holding the price of milk for March and also not increasing the price of meal given the huge dependence on meal at present and the massive costs facing farmers.
We are in a very serious crisis situation and our Minister must now take centre stage and lead a number of immediate initiatives to help farm families and measures are needed immediately and not next week. The Government can no longer stand back from this issue, they need to act, concluded Mr. McCormack.
ENDS 03 April 2018
Pat McCormack is at (087) 7608958
ICMSA Head Office (061) 314677