4th September, 2012
President of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association, Gabriel Gilmartin, has described the plethora of strict deadlines and closing dates imposed on vital farming activities as “nonsense”, and says the concept of farming by calendar dates must come to an end.
Mr. Gilmartin recently visited a number of farms in the West Cork region, which have been particularly badly affected as a result of the huge rainfall levels seen in the past few months. He said this bad weather has brought the issue to the forefront and is now more critical than ever. “The rainfall there has been nothing short of catastrophic for farming. It has made the ordinary, everyday business of running a farm exceptionally difficult, and this is being made all the worse by the looming deadlines for the likes of spreading slurry and fertilizer. It’s gone beyond a simple extension of the deadlines. What we need now is for the legislators to realise that the rules are making a tough job impossible, and that farmers need to be able to do their work as and when the weather and ground conditions allow.”
“Fodder shortage is a huge problem in some parts of the country, and we in ICSA have pledged to help those in need as much as we can. We have already organised and subsidised the delivery of bales of straw to struggling farmers in West Cork. However, the shortage of silage is only the tip of the iceberg this year. The cost of concentrates is going up, the price of cattle is falling, and there is serious concern about the impact the weather is having on being able to meet cross-compliance requirements.”
“On top of all that is the mental pressure this is putting on farmers and their families. The weather will improve eventually, and farmers will be able to go about their business – but we don’t know when that will be. What I’m saying now is that farmers have to be given the flexibility to do what they can, when they can, and that means the authorities must grasp farming reality, and throw out the ridiculous concept of calendar farming.”