Early Intervention Vital
MEP Luke Ming Flanagan is backing the call from the ICSA for the Government to introduce a transport subsidy to cover fodder haulage costs to avert a serious fodder crisis in the west and north west in the spring of 2018.
Surveys carried out show that due to the prolonged atrocious weather conditions over the late Summer and Autumn of 2017 many farmers face a serious shortfall of fodder for their stock heading into 2018. The adverse weather conditions had a twofold negative effect, not only were silage crops designated for winter feed not harvested, also cattle were housed much earlier than normal putting additional pressure on already depleted winter fodder supplies.
The time for action is now said MEP Flanagan before the situation escalates into a full blown crisis. It is now known that many farmers will be in difficulty in six weeks or two months’ time. The proposals being put forward by the ICSA are credible and workable. Hay and straw have been sourced in the south east of the Country. It is a great credit to the farmers involved that they are willing to sell it at realistic prices not taking advantage of the current situation and asking inflated prices, however when the cost of haulage is added to this it brings it to a prohibitive price for the farmers to purchase in the North West. Where the Government must step in, is to introduce a transport subsidy to cover the cost of bringing the fodder to where it is needed at a price the farmers can afford.
This action coupled with a “meal voucher” scheme which would enable farmers to stretch existing fodder stocks would be a genuine “early intervention” initiative which would go a long way towards alleviating the pressure point building up in early 2018.
Concluding, Mr Flanagan called on Minister Creed to make an early statement of intent to address the situation to ease the pressure and mental stress on farm families in the run up to Christmas.