April 3, 2024
Claire Kerrane TD calls for government response to worsening soil conditions facing farmers

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has called on the government to outline a response to worsening soil conditions facing farmers.

Farmers have been experiencing difficult ground conditions and heavy rainfall, which has caused many delays in turning out livestock and planting in recent weeks. Met Éireann has forecasted more heavy rainfall this week, which will likely worsen soil conditions in fields and cause farmers further delays to their usual springtime operations.

Teachta Kerrane called on Minister McConalogue last week to outline his response to the fodder shortage and prolonged weather conditions family farmers have been facing, but he has yet to do so.

Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:

“A week later, a week of continued difficult weather conditions and delays for family farmers, and we still have no response from the Minister or his government.

“Continued heavy rainfall is putting serious pressure on farmers across virtually all sectors, with delays to the turning out of livestock and planting being reported.

“We know that challenging weather is set to continue and it is expected that soil conditions will worsen which, in turn, will further delay farmers in carrying out their usual spring activities.

“The Minister has no control over the weather, but he does have control over the response that is put in place to respond to such challenging conditions.

“For example, his Department ruled out a fodder support scheme during a meeting with the National Fodder and Food Security Committee (NFFSC) last week. Calls for a delay to ground inspections were seemingly also met with a lukewarm response from Department officials.

“While I understand it is logistically and administratively cumbersome to delay farm inspections, it should at least be looked at as something that can be practically put in place at this time.

“Yet, it is unclear what, if any, measures the Minister is considering to provide some relief to farmers. Many are under serious pressure, which is set to continue given the anticipated soil conditions over the coming week and possibly weeks.

“It isn’t good enough for the Department to just hold meetings with farmers and representative organisations and relay concerns to the Minister or the government – farmers need assistance and they need it now.

“I am calling on the Minister and his government to immediately outline what concrete measures will be put in place to support farmers with navigating through this difficult time.”

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