Farmer fury over Government inaction on fodder crisis

‘Chronically low’ fodder levels in border counties.

Resounding demand for the immediate introduction of subsidy and distribution of meal vouchers to worst affected.

Sligo News File.

A strongly supported ICSA meeting in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan on Tuesday night witnessed “huge anger” over the reluctance of the Government to act on calls to roll out a scheme to aid farmers in areas where atrocious weather conditions have wreaked havoc on fodder harvesting.

ICSA president Patrick Kent addressing fodder crisis meeting in Ballyconnell

Commenting on “the anger of those present,” president of the ICSA Patrick Kent said it was clear from the meeting that farmers “are under pressure” and that immediate action is needed on the fodder crisis.

He said, “ICSA has been sourcing fodder from the Southern half of the country to distribute to those most in need. From the information we have gathered tonight, the need for fodder in this region is immense.”

Stressing that the efforts of the association will continue, he said: “a transport subsidy needs to be introduced as a matter of urgency as does a system of distributing meal vouchers to those worst affected.”

ICSA Cavan chairman Hugh Farrell said, “Fodder levels are chronically low due to the atrocious weather conditions we experienced in the border counties during the autumn months.

“It is imperative we get to grips with the situation now.”

He underlined that the mission of the ICSA “is to assist as many local farmers as possible.”

Braving appalling weather conditions, huge regional attendance at ICSA fodder crisis meeting in Cavan

A presentation by nutritionist Emmet Duffy of AW Ennis attracted keen interest. He proposed that the Government should subsidise products “such as alfalfa, lucerne or straw pellets which would be ideal for inclusion in fodder stretcher mixes.

“A subsidy of €50/ton could make a decisive difference. These products can provide an efficient alternative to the high cost of transporting bales which are scarce anyway.”

Mr. Kent observed that “We have to look for smart and efficient solutions which can be delivered at short notice. It’s time for shoulders to be put to the wheel and deliver these practical solutions without delay.”

Michael Davey of Specialist Nutrition pictured with Hugh Farrell, chairman, Cavan ICSA