Difficulties ahead for farmers - Prendergast

Labour MEP, Phil Prendergast, has called on the government to take specific measures to alleviate some of the problems facing farmers and their families.

Labour MEP, Phil Prendergast, has called on the government to take specific measures to alleviate some of the problems facing farmers and their families.

Speaking from Strasbourg, Ms Prendergast said: “The weather this summer has been atrocious. Met Eireann reported higher than average rainfall in June, July and August, with June being the wettest since records began.

“Many farmers I have spoken to have had to rehouse livestock with the resulting increase in the cost of feeding animals.

“There is also a problem with the feed prices themselves, as drought in America has pushed the price of soya to an all-time record of €560 a tonne. This means that farmers will be doubly affected, as the poor weather has an impact on the quality of their own feed, while imports are at a record high.”

She called on the government to take these circumstances into account when it announces Budget 2013. “Many of the statistics, on which the budget will be made, will not reflect the realities of this summer and the global market. All they need to do is talk to farmers on the ground to understand the extent to which they are struggling. The government needs to examine the possibility of the early issuing of direct payments due to farmers from the single farm payment, AEOS and REPS.”

The Tipperary based representative also called on the government to put pressure on the banks to extend temporary loans to farmers to help cover the additional costs being heaped on farmers this winter.