Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has expressed disappointment with the Agriculture Minister’s refusal to sanction a fodder package for farmers who are worried about running out of feed for their animals this winter.

Deputy Smith asked the Minister if plans were being put in place to deal with a possible fodder shortage, however Minister Creed said there were no plans for a fodder aid scheme at this time.

“Farmers across Cavan and Monaghan are becoming increasingly worried about their ability to feed their livestock this winter.  This summer was particularly wet and there are large parcels of land which remain saturated.  There are a number of farmers who haven’t been able to get their second cut of silage, and this, combined with the fact that some animals have already been indoors for many weeks, will exacerbate the problem as more feed will be needed but the silage hasn’t been cut”, said Deputy Smith.

“This is having serious implications for farmers, and the Minister himself knows this.  In his reply to me he admits that “the weather conditions over the past number of weeks have been challenging” and that “this has created difficulties for farmers in parts of the country, particularly in the Western and North Western regions”.  However, he is still refusing to establish a fodder aid scheme for them.

“Farmers in the Border region are already under immense pressure, with currency fluctuations impacting on their business.  The fodder crisis is compounding the problem and farmers are becoming increasingly concerned that they won’t have enough feed to get them through the winter months.  The situation is so bad in some areas that farmers from other parts of the country, which are unaffected by the crisis, have come together to donate fodder to farmers in the region.  While this is much appreciated, this responsibility should lie with the Minister and the Department.

“I am urging Minister Creed to reconsider his position on this and to set up an aid fund for farmers affected by this fodder shortage.  Unless action is taken this crisis could escalate further.  These farmers need help now and the Minister needs to reassess his decision”.