Deputy Martin Kenny
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Agriculture, Food and Marine Martin Kenny TD raised the issue of the developing fodder crisis that is emerging in the agricultural sector, particularly in the North-West and along the Western seaboard during questions to the Minister for Agriculture yesterday.
Deputy Kenny said: “I have raised this issue before with the Minister but he refused to agree that there was such a crisis and was in complete denial about it. The reality is a fodder crisis is developing and has already developed in the North-West and along the western seaboard.
“Farmers are in a terrible situation. Last weekend, I saw farmers trying to make silage in pools of water in my constituency. That is happening throughout the country. I know of farmers who made silage in early June but were unable to get a second cut and now the first cut is half gone.
“The Minister claims that farmers faced a few challenging weeks and had to house livestock temporarily. He is clearly not very familiar with farming in the North-West. If a farmer has to house cattle in late September because of wet land conditions, they will not be letting them out again in a few weeks. They are housed for the winter and it will be a long winter.
“I want the Minister to agree that there is a crisis something must be done about it. Saying that he is monitoring the situation is not enough reassurance for farmers facing a long winter. Farmers are being forced to sell off cattle because they either don’t have enough fodder or can’t afford to but fodder for them.
“We need a backup scheme that gives farmers confidence that if they get into difficulty they will receive aid to get them over the winter.”