ICSA Rural Development Chairman, Seamus Sherlock, has said he is concerned at reports of Co-Ops and merchants tightening up on credit, at a time when many farmers are in a vulnerable position with fodder shortages. “The shortage of money is becoming just as big a problem as the shortage of fodder. Even where farmers are able to source fodder, being able to afford it is another matter,” he said.
“Farmers are now battling this winter for seven months, and the stress and strain associated with this never ending bad weather has taken its toll on both man and beast. Most dry-stock farmers are at their wits end trying to hang on for better weather which would facilitate grass growth which, in turn, would facilitate stock going back out onto grass. In the meantime, we need to see a bit of leeway so that farmers can get out of this fodder crisis in one piece. Financial pressures can very easily manifest into mental health issues, and no one wants to see struggling farmers driven into impossible situations.”
Concluding Mr Sherlock urged Minister Creed to speed up the balance of payments owed to farmers from the various schemes. “At the very least farmers need to have what they are owed as a matter of urgency. Constant delays in payments only add to the frustration, and make any sort of planning very difficult.”