20 May 2013
INDUSTRY CALL FOR MORE GOVT ACTION TO HELP FARMERSUncategorized
Following today’s meeting in Portlaoise of representatives from across the industry, IFA President John Bryan said the unanimous view was that a major national effort with meaningful Government intervention will be required to secure enough winter fodder and recover the losses incurred following the worst period of farming weather in living memory.
John Bryan said, “€9bn in exports and 300,000 jobs depend on farming. Government action now to support the sector would pay huge dividends by maintaining production levels, especially in the heavier soils and in vulnerable sectors, where farm families are being worst affected.” Mr Bryan called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to extend the fodder subsidy for at least another two weeks, to assist farmers in the west and border regions secure fodder until grass growth and ground conditions return to normal levels.
John Bryan said the Teagasc assessment of a potential shortfall in next winter’s fodder supply of up to 30% must be a call to action for the Minister and the Government. He again called on them to provide a €50m recovery package to include a fertiliser subsidy and subsidised loans for farmers who inevitably will have to borrow to keep their business going.
The IFA President told the three banks attending the meeting that they too would have to look at the long term, and come forward with low-interest flexible working capital loans to assist farmers deal with massive merchant and co-op bills. The industry, with the IFA, has organised the delivery of thousands of tonnes of hay into the country. However, further supplies will be required and John Bryan called on the co-ops to continue their good work in sourcing fodder until the crisis abates. IFA has sourced hay in France and now in Holland, which will also be made available through the co-ops, marts and merchants.
John Bryan said winter fodder production needs to be maximised and farmers who are in a position to do so, need to produce additional winter fodder as it will be required in areas worst hit by this crisis.
He said that efforts of the co-ops, marts, merchants and IFA’s voluntary officers and staff who have been working around the clock, was appreciated by farmers and he encouraged them to keep up the good work.