Crisis: Limerick farmers express fodder concerns for next winter

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Email:

donal.oregan@limerickleader.ie

Deputy Tom Neville: Has announced a helpline for struggling farmers in drought

Deputy Tom Neville: Has announced a helpline for struggling farmers in drought

THE GOVERNMENT is already taking action to prevent a fodder shortage this winter, said Deputy Tom Neville this week.

The Fine Gael TD said he has been in constant communication with Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, raising concerns from Limerick farmers on how this year’s weather events may impact fodder availability. A large crowd at a fodder crisis meeting on Tuesday night in in Boher demonstrates the extent of the problem. 

Deputy Neville confirmed that the minister is already taking several steps to mitigate any issue and ensure there is no shortage of fodder. 

“The minister formed a representative group chaired by Teagasc including stakeholders such as co-ops, banks, farm bodies, amongst others, to co-ordinate advisory messages to farmers this summer around replenishing stocks that have been used up, and also to manage grazing and fodder through this extended period of extraordinarily dry weather.

“This group will meet regularly, particularly during this difficult period, until the issue of securing adequate fodder supplies for next winter has been fully addressed,” said Deputy Neville.

On June 26, a national fodder census was launched and to be compiled by Teagasc through its client network as well as clients of the other fodder group stakeholders, with another census planned for September 1. 

The aim  is to monitor and measure levels of fodder in the country and will inform further actions that may be necessary this autumn. 

“Co-ops and feed compounders represented on the group have increased feed output to meet demand. Banking institution members are also working closely with farmer customers on effective financial planning to see them through the current difficult spell,” said Deputy Neville, a strong mental health advocate.

“I believe it is very important that in the face of such weather related events farmers should have access to measures that improve their resilience to these occurrences.

“Department officials have been asked to examine all available risk management tools to determine which of these may be most appropriate to the farming sector.” 

“In addition, Teagasc has established a dedicated helpline to provide advice to farmers affected by the ongoing drought.

This is being supplemented by a series of local meetings/clinics where farmers can obtain direct support from Teagasc advisors. The helpline will operate daily from 9am to 9pm - 087 7971377.

This helpline service and local clinics are open to all farmers, including non-Teagasc clients.”