Oireachtas Committee to discuss fodder crisis today

Agriculture Minister to face questioning on supports being rolled out to the farming community.

Sligo Today

Possible financial support for farmers is down for discussion when Agriculture Minister Michael Creed attends a meeting of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee today.

Pat Deering, Chair, Oireachtas Agriculture Committee

Chairman Pat Deering says the Committee want the Minister to fill them in on the situation surrounding the fodder crisis and possible financial support for the farming sector.

Credit flow is also on the cards as are issues regarding the cost of feed.

Reports of animals going hungry and farmers being unable to access enough fodder are a cause of grave concern to Committee members, said Deering. They want every farm to have access to feedstuff.

South Sligo farmer Eddie Davitt has been critical of Creed’s handling of the fodder emergency, accusing him of ‘turning a blind eye’ to the crisis.

He told Mid West Radio that the issue had been raised at two high profile meetings in Sligo at which officials of the minister’s department were present.

He had also spoken directly with the Minister when he impressed on him the need for action over what was then a looming crisis regarding fodder.

Teagasc Regional Manager, Vivian Silk said that 56 farmers in Mayo were looking for fodder while 28 had some for sale.

Vivian Silke, Teagasc Regional Manager

He feared the crisis was set to worsen because of the torrential rainfall over the weekend. Many farmers were currently “down to their last reserves.”

As of now, grass growth was slow as well as which getting fertiliser to the land would be extremely difficult if the rainfall continued.

He said Teagasc was maintaining a register at their offices in Ballina, Ballinrobe, Claremorris and Westport for farmers either seeking or offering fodder for sale. Farmers could also contact the Teagasc county-wide helpline, 096 80086, which was fully manned during office hours. The services of Teagasc were open to clients and non-clients alike during the emergency, he said.