IFA Deputy President Eddie Downey said the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must come forward with more measures to alleviate the real hardship and financial stress on the worst affected farms.
“The Minister confirmed this morning that he has a crisis fund. He must make this assistance available immediately to anybody who is under severe pressure.” Eddie Downey urged farmers who have run out of feed and cash to contact their Teagasc adviser or their local DVO and seek assistance from the department of Agriculture.
Mr Downey welcomed the Minister’s commitment that the Department would take the pressure on farms fully into account with on-farm inspections.
In addition, IFA repeated a call that the Minister should pay farmers an advance of €1,000 of their Disadvantaged Area payment. This is normally due in September, and the advance can be set against it. Farmers in non-Disadvantaged Areas should get a €1,000 advance on their Single Farm Payment.
Minister Coveney should also pay the shipping costs of fodder from the UK, as stocks here have all but run out, and farmers are now sourcing forage from the UK.
As Chair of IFA’s Fodder Project Team, Eddie Downey said he had been working on this issue since last autumn with the banks, Teagasc, the co-ops and the feed merchants. “We have encouraged farmers with surplus fodder to make it available to those who need it. IFA have also met the main banks at Chief Executive level, setting out the difficult situation that exists on farms, and repeatedly reminded bank managers of their responsibility to their farmer customers. He called on all stakeholders to redouble their support till farmers get stock to grass.”