2018 farm income figures ‘represent a huge challenge’

The estimated reduction of up to 60% in dairy farmer net margin in 2018 has been described as a huge challenge ahead by a farm lobby group.

Commenting on yesterday’s Teagasc report, president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) Pat McCormack said that he is not surprised at the projected reduction in dairy farmers’ income.

He outlined the challenge this winter will be to ensure that farmers can feed their animals and remain financially viable.

He also warned that the Teagasc report only reflects the economics of the situation and does not reflect the massive mental and physical pressures on farmers at present that also need to be addressed.

McCormack said: “The Government will simply have to act with initiatives to boost the availability of fodder supplies and ensure that markets are available at reasonable prices for surplus stock.”

He called on meat processors to play their part in ensuring that farmers get a fair and reasonable price for their stock and that live exports are ramped up immediately.

The other links in the supply chain who make their living from farmers are going to have to step up to the mark in supporting them through what is likely to be an extremely difficult period.

Farmers are in a difficult position and the other stakeholders and, in particular, the Government will have to act immediately to support farmers, concluded McCormack.