11th April, 2013
Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association president Gabriel Gilmartin has said that many farmers are at near breaking point due to scarce fodder, scare grass and scarce cash. He has called on the Minister and the wider agri-sector to acknowledge this impending problem and to examine what can be done to assist.
“Farmers everywhere are in trouble due to an exceptionally late spring coming on top of a disastrous year in 2012. Most farms are out of silage or as near as makes no odds but there is no grass anywhere, as we rapidly approach the middle of April.”
“I am very concerned because I fear that some farmers simply cannot handle the stress. There have been some useful local initiatives in terms of fodder relief and advice from Teagasc but I think the problem is now gone beyond that.”
“I am calling for a national emergency task force to be set up by the Minister which would involve farm representatives, co-ops and agri-merchants, banking representatives and Teagasc.”
“I have met with individual farmers who are at their wits end. We all need to be mindful that some individual farmers may find it difficult to cope with the immense mental pressure of not knowing what to do next to ensure animals are properly fed.”
“A key problem is that many farmers are absolutely strapped for cash and some are coming under increasing pressure from merchants and co-ops to settle their accounts, while at the same time finding that there is little flexibility from banks. All of these need to show a lot more understanding of where farmers are at right now.”
“Some farmers will need additional credit facilities to get them through the next few weeks. We also need to review how farmers should adjust their farming strategies to cope with the increased tendency towards extreme weather that we have witnessed in recent years.”