Many farmers struggling in fodder crisis aided others in need
Many farmers now struggling with the fodder crisis had freely given away their fodder months earlier to help others, said a leading livestock farmer.
It was "bucketing rain" yesterday on the hilly farm owned by Angus Woods as he spoke of the plight of farmers trying to cope with dwindling fodder stores as April continues with "non-existent grass growth".
Woods, who tends cattle and sheep on his farm outside Wicklow town, is chairman of the national livestock committee of the Irish Farmers' Association. He said farmers continue to help each other.
"Earlier in the year, a huge proportion of IFA members donated fodder free of charge to farmers in difficulty in the western counties.
"Ironically enough, a lot of those farmers who donated free are now short of fodder themselves because they never envisaged ending up in April without any grass," he said.
"Our colleagues in counties like Leitrim and Sligo and Mayo and Galway were highlighting this fodder problem for months on end and the Department of Agriculture was ignoring them.
"They told farmers they had nothing to worry about. But it's all come home to roost now," he said. He called on the department and on Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to become "a lot more proactive" to help farmers.
In November, the Sunday Independent published the comments of Co Leitrim farmer Desmond McHugh, who warned then that a future fodder crisis was looming.