IFA President Joe Healy has called on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to allocate a dedicated budget for farmers in urgent need of help to get them through the fodder crisis.
Joe Healy said the Department of Agriculture has an Early Warning System (EWS) that operates locally to provide assistance and support to farmers before any welfare problems emerge.
The IFA President said Minister Creed has been referencing this system in the context of the fodder crisis. However, there is no specific fund allocated to this initiative. The Minister needs to make a significant fund available immediately so that any issues can be dealt with effectively at local level.
IFA Animal Health Chairman Pat Farrell said that in future the EWS needs to be put on a stronger financial footing with proper funding.
He said the EWS provides essential intervention and assistance in many cases across the country. He said fodder and other measures are often provided on a voluntary basis and this approach could be improved and broadened out if the EWS had funds and a proper budget.
Pat Farrell said the EWS operates on a year-round basis, but obviously most work is undertaken during the winter/spring months, especially when fodder can run tight on farms, like we have at the moment.
He said while everybody is hoping that the current fodder difficulties will ease with improved weather, individual problems will continue to be encountered and must be dealt with in a sympathetic manner.