Cows in a shed - 22nd March 2024

ICMSA say “exceptionally long and wet winter” will require a 2024 Fodder Support Scheme across all sectors.

With cattle housed in many parts of the country since last September and in most areas since early October, ICMSA has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine to immediately introduce a Fodder Support Scheme for all farmers to address what has been an exceptionally long and wet winter period necessitating prolonged housing and the obvious need to replenish stocks as the year progresses. The ICMSA President, Denis Drennan, said that the winter period has placed an enormous mental strain on farmers from a financial and personal perspective and farmers were doing their utmost to manage their way through an extremely difficult Spring. Regulators need to recognise this, he said, and acknowledge the real and difficult challenges currently facing farmers and act accordingly. Mr. Drennan also called for inspections to be “put aside” for now in recognition of the exceptional difficulty weather and ground conditions with which farmers are dealing.   

“We know from communications and contact with our farmer members and the wider industry that cashflow at farm level is extremely tight, and it’s also becoming clear that jobs that would normally be complete at this stage of the year have not even commenced across all farm sectors. Farmers are weeks behind in their work schedules and we think that a clear priority at this stage must be to provide guidance and assistance to farmers until animals get to grass and then support them in rebuilding fodder stock for the 24/25 winter”, said the ICMSA President.

Pointing out that the Minister had a fodder scheme in place in 2022 and 2023 and that it was already obvious that 2024 would require another fodder scheme, Mr. Drennan stressed that this year’s scheme must cover all farmers and that last year’s “unfair and unacceptable” exclusion of dairy farmers could absolutely not be repeated.

“The Minister should immediately announce a fodder support scheme and show that the Government recognises the unexpected challenges facing farmers and will support them through this difficult period. But it’s just as important that this Fodder Scheme will not exclude dairy farmers as was the unfair and unacceptable case in the last scheme. Whether you’re a dairy farmer, beef farmer, sheep farmer or tillage farmer, all are under pressure and the Minister needs to step up and provide support immediately.  Neighbours are out there supporting neighbours, we need to see the Government adopt the same attitude immediately and show that they actually understand the serious challenges facing farmers”, concluded Mr. Drennan.

Ends       22 March 2024

Denis Drennan, 086-8389401

President, ICMSA


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office