Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 March 2018

Farmers demand action on fodder crisis and ANC

Irish Natura And Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) national rally in the Sligo Southern Hotel, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly
Irish Natura And Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) national rally in the Sligo Southern Hotel, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

Almost 800 farmers attending a national rally held by the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers in Sligo on the December 1st endorsed a call for immediate action in the delivery of a fodder aid scheme and a fairer redistribution of the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) payment.

Speaking after the meeting National President Colm O’Donnell outlined his delight at the turnout stating “how tonight’s meeting, which is the largest turnout to any farmers meeting this year is a clear message to our Minister and his officials on the need to deliver on these two issues.”

With regard to the fodder crisis O’Donnell welcomed the support from Fianna Fail’s Charlie McConalogue, Martin Kenny Sinn Fein and Thomas Pringle Independent who all outlined the need for the delivery of a fodder aid scheme for farmers in the West and North West.

He also welcomed the acknowledgement from Michael Comiskey spokesperson on behalf of Minister Creed who accepted that we are looking at a fodder crisis in Western areas.

Tonight’s attendance and engagement from farmers he continued “is a clear indication of the growing concern facing many of them who need help now in order to avert financial hardship and possible welfare issues next spring. With this in mind added O’Donnell “a fodder aid scheme that focuses on meal vouchers could be of major assistance to many farmers.”

This point was also covered in a presentation by Farm Advisor Liam McKinney who advised that where farmers have over 50% of their required fodder then the deficit could be supplemented through meal feeding.

For this reason stated O’Donnell “it is now critical, that if any farmer is facing a potential fodder shortage, then they should contact their local Teagasc office, outlining their situation as Teagasc have been tasked with the role of assessing the overall  situation.” 

On proposed changes to the ANC scheme and the targeting of the additional €25m promised in the recent budget O’Donnell welcomed the support given to the INHFA proposals as outlined in their presentation by all speakers at the top table. These proposals which included front-loading and a targeting of payments to the lands with the highest constraints were emphatically endorsed by all farmers present.

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The INHFA policy on front-loading stated O’Donnell “will deliver for farmers with smaller areas unlike proposals made by others that will only benefit large-scale farmers.” Likewise he continued our proposals on the targeting of payments is what needs to happen and not other options outlined in Minister Creeds statement on the night, which could see payments spread thinly across three categories delivering little impact for anyone.”

On the Mountain Sheep Grazing area O’Donnell welcomed the support from all politicians in supporting its retention and concluded by reminding the Minister of the mandate delivered to the organisation from the those present tonight in ensuring that future ANC payments should reflect the land constraint and deliver for farmers who need it the most.

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