Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has called on the Minister for Agriculture to urgently develop a strategy to ensure that there are adequate feed and fodder supplies for the remainder of 2018 and for the early part of 2019.
Despite some rainfall over the past two weeks, there has been nowhere near enough to avert another fodder crisis this winter.
“It is essential that the Agriculture Minister takes immediate action and puts in place all appropriate interventions to help mitigate a fodder crisis this winter. Farm incomes are under severe pressure due to the difficulties of last winter and spring and the poor crops to date this summer”, explained Deputy Smith.
“I am calling on the government to establish a Hardship Fund to assist farmers who are suffering financial pressures to assist them is getting through the months ahead. Even at this early stage farmers are reporting a shortage of fodder and the depletion of fodder stocks. This is become more severe as the months go on and the ground remains exceptionally dry.
“I have raised this issue time and time again with the Minister; however, he has failed to take any direct action to address it. While the National Fodder Census will show us how much feed is in the country it is not a targeted plan to deal with the shortages.
“Measures must be taken to avert an animal welfare and farmer welfare crisis. My party has put forward a 12 point plan to contain the crisis and to support farmers in the event of another wet winter.
“These proposals are rooted in common sense, and an understanding of the needs of farmers. Unless an action plan is designed and implemented as a matter of urgency, farmers in Cavan, Monaghan and across the country are in for another very long, hard winter”.