Independent TD Mattie McGrath has stated that farmers are being driven to the limits of their endurance as the consequences of an unprecedented lack of available fodder kicks in. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to immediately draw up and implement plans including the possible importation of dried fodder produce such as irrigated Alfalfa from Spain:
“The message on the ground from the farmers I am talking to is that Minister Creed has utterly failed to grasp the gravity of the crisis that is upon us.
He is talking about writing to the EU Commission for an extension of available land for the sourcing of fodder while ignoring the fact that the closing dates for fertiliser and slurry spreading is only a few weeks away.
Farmers simply do not have that kind of time. They are in the midst of a full blown crisis that is going to have a severe and hugely detrimental impact on the food supply chain and indeed on the national herd.
I am calling on the Minister to meet with myself and my colleagues in the Rural Independent Group, Michael Collins and Dr Michael Harty and Michael Healy-Rae where I can assure him, we will leave him in no doubt about the scale of the emergency.
The Minister must consider possible short term solutions like subsidising imported fodder at €50 per tonne.
We know that Spain has ample reserves of dried fodder at the moment.
The fear we have however is that the Minister is so busy playing diplomatic niceties with the European commission that by the time he gets round to actually taking action, the French and continental farmers will have snapped up what dry fodder is currently available.
Minister Creed must step out of his bubble, visit those areas that have been severely affected and see for himself what it is like when the first cut silage is gone and the second cut is at best yielding only 25-35% outcomes,” concluded Deputy McGrath.