Mr. John Hanley, Roscommon IFA Co. Chairman, has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to take immediate action to deal with the seriousness of the fodder situation in this region. He said IFA have made a strong case to the Minister for an aid package including additional ANC funds for those farmers in difficulty.
Mr. Hanley said land is saturated with farmers having to house cattle since early August. For farmers in the worst-affected areas, cattle are eating through winter fodder stocks months ahead of time. Also, a lot of farmers in these areas of the county were unable to get a second cut of silage.
“The incessant weather conditions have placed huge pressure on farmers, driving up their costs and depleting feed stocks” said Mr. Hanley.
IFA had a regional meeting with Teagasc in Manorhamilton last week to discuss the fodder situation. From the meeting, it emergd that the worst-hit areas are Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, North Roscommon, North Longford and West Cavan.
Teagasc agreed to carry out a scientific report to establish the total fodder farmers are short. All their advisors in the regions are available to attend IFA Branch Annual General Meetings.
Mr. Hanley said the Minister for Agriculture must get his Department to pay out the Direct Payments to farmers immediately. “The main issues holding up payments are inspections, dual claims and over-claims. It’s now a matter of urgency that these issues are resolved” he said.
Mr. Hanley said it is important that farmers support one another in this fodder crisis and supply the fodder at a reasonable price.
He added: “IFA are totally opposed to anyone escalating prices and taking advantage of the current situation.”