Wet weather adds to pressure on Fermanagh farmers

THE ongoing wet weather is adding to the financial pressures facing local farmers, with calls for the banks to provide leniency given the current situation.

While March is normally seen as a turning point in the farming calendar, the weather in recent weeks has shown no signs of turning. The persistent rain has left many farmers unable to move their livestock or begin their planting and sowing.

Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) president David Brown has said this is leading to mounting bills for farmers, who are struggling to keep on top of their work.


Mr Brown explained the weather woes have been months in the making.

“The ground is saturated due to wet conditions that stretch back to the middle of last year,” he said.

“We are urging everyone in the banking sector who interacts with farmers, to take this into account and to give whatever support they can. It is no secret that banks have made profits in recent years, while farmers are doing their best to stay afloat.

“Banks have the power to apply leniency for anybody who’s battling to meet repayments, and they need to step up for farmers.”

Mr Brown added that while weather conditions can’t be controlled, however, ensuring fairness is applied throughout the supply chain can make a big difference for farm businesses.

“Many farmers operate as sole traders, therefore, it’s critical that every pound that’s in the marketplace makes its way back to farmers,” he said. “This can help to ease the pressure on farmers when uncontrollable elements such as the weather, is going against them.”

The UFU president added that TB levels were at an all-time high across the North, and many farmers were currently closed and unable to sell their livestock, meaning they have more animals to house and feed.


“At this stage of the year, silage stocks will be low, and they will need to source and buy more,” he said.

“This puts extra pressure on cashflows and the daily running of the farm – farmers may need additional support.”

Mr Brown reminded those who were struggling that help was out there.

“I urge all farmers who are feeling overwhelmed and isolated, to please reach out for support. The UFU will always do what it can to support members and local charity Rural Support has expertise to help farmers through challenging times,” he said.

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