13 DECEMBER 2017

At an ICSA meeting in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan last night there was huge anger at the reluctance of the Government to launch a fodder crisis scheme. Acknowledging the anger of those present, ICSA president Patrick Kent said, “Farmers are under pressure and it is clear from the meeting tonight that action is needed on this crisis sooner rather than later. Early intervention will be a better solution than letting it get out of hand.”

Mr Kent 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. Our efforts will continue, however, 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, “ICSA’s mission is to assist as many local farmers as possible. 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.”

On the evening, there was a lot of interest in the proposal by nutritionist Emmet Duffy of AW Ennis 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.

Concluding, ICSA president Patrick Kent said, “We have to look for smart and efficient solutions which can be delivered at short notice. It’s time for shoulders to put to the wheel and deliver these urgent practical solutions without delay.”