FARMERS in Fermanagh are at ‘breaking point’ as they struggle to cope with the effects of the ever lasting winter.
Heavy rain and prolonged cold spells throughout the winter have meant that farmers have had to keep their animals indoors for longer, meaning that more fodder is required.
The increasing demand for fodder has pushed up the price and left farmers feeling the pinch with many of them struggling to make ends meet.
Just this week, an analysis piece in the Irish Times claimed that “the fodder crisis proves we have too many cows” suggesting that the 2012/13 fodder crisis was a warning shot that Ireland may not be able to produce enough for its then almost seven million cattle.
Councillor John Coyle raised the concerns at a recent Fermanagh and Omagh Council meeting explaining the devastating effects the current crisis is having on farmers in the county.
“There is a really bad situation in in our rural community. Farmers are struggling. It has rained constantly since July, with then frost and snow, it has been such a severe winter. Some assistance has to be given to farmers who are struggling to survive in their businesses…this is life or death to the farming industry.” Farmers also took another hit when the Area of Natural Constraint Payment which is a payment for farmers with land in a severely disadvantaged area was issued in March at a 50% reduction.
Cllr Coyle explains that “this has put more hardship on farmers because there had to be extra concentrates fed to animals to keep them at their optimal bodyweight. I think it is the lack of government here in the North is letting our rural community down, and putting people’s lives at risk because some farmers are at breaking point.”
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