Airport pledges support to fodder-deprived farmers with 400ac grass offer

Shannon Airport has pledged its support to farmers battling the current fodder crisis by offering to repeat its intervention of 2013 when it harvested silage from its 400ac site.

The airport’s operations team will meet with farm representatives over the coming days to explore the need to fast-track cutting of grass on the airport grounds in light of the severe difficulties faced by many farmers due to the prolonged severe winter and spring weather.

No grass inside the airport’s perimeter is due to be cut until later in the summer but, in light of the shortages, it is offering to bring cutting forward to support local farmers.

Five years ago, in late April, farmers received 1,600 bales of silage from the airport in what was then the most severe fodder crisis in living memory.

Airport operations director Niall Maloney commented on the issue, stating: “Farmers were in difficulty back then and, having seen just how important our intervention was, we have been watching the situation closely over the past few weeks and will be making the same offer to farmers’ representatives again when we meet them.

“We are a community airport and were delighted then to do what we could and the farmers were hugely appreciative,” he said.

It was a critical intervention for many local farmers and so well received that other airports followed our lead – and we hope they will do so again this time also.

The operations director said that the situation may not yet be as bad as 2013, but added that he recognised many farmers are in dire circumstances.

“A lot could happen in a week if the weather improves and we get more growth but as of now, many farmers are experiencing major problems,” Maloney said.

“We’ve seen a lot of fodder imported over the past week as a result, [as well as] the introduction of emergency government supports and we are willing to play our part also.”