The President of ICMSA, Denis Drennan, has called for a further meeting of the National Fodder and Food Security to be held tomorrow (Fri).   

 His call follows forecasts of yet more unsettled weather running through next weekend and into the following week.    

 The ICMSA President said that some farmers are in a very difficult position and it is important that the Government and stakeholders prepare - or at least look at 'worst case' scenarios - instead of 'crossing your fingers' and hoping that the weather improves and gives better prospects. 

Denis has been speaking to Midwest News Editor Teresa O'Malley...

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue , in a statement this lunchtime  speaks about the challenging conditions on farms across Ireland. Referring in particular to the question of fodder availability, he said: 

“I am extremely conscious of the pressure on farmers as a result of continuing and exceptional adverse weather conditions. As an immediate step I have asked my department to pause farm inspections not specifically required to support payments until 22nd April. In considering this matter I was conscious of the need to avoid any action that might affect payments to farmers. This step is a proportionate and necessary one in the current circumstances. 

I have also asked Teagasc to establish a system for co-ordinating advisory supports to help farmers maximise existing fodder stocks and provide a basis for those with surpluses to engage with those who are struggling. 

The National Fodder and Feed Security Committee, which I convened last week, concluded that notwithstanding the difficulties that some farmers are experiencing, there are sufficient fodder stocks around the country at present. This system will support the optimal use of available stocks, and I have asked Teagasc to report back to next week’s National Feed and Food Security Committee on the outcome. 

I also met recently with the main banks and my department is continuing to engage with them. I have impressed upon them the need to show forbearance with farmers where cashflow issues are emerging in response to current difficulties. I also asked them to ensure access to short term finance and overdraft facilities where needed to deal with the pressure arising from the current exceptional weather conditions.”    

Concluding, the Minister said that he had asked the National Fodder and Food Security Committee, under the chairmanship of Mike Magan, to meet again next week, and that he would continue to monitor the situation closely


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