A fodder action group is expected to be established to support farmers struggling on the ground in the north and north-west over the coming weeks, AgriLand has learned.

It is understood that the group will consist of a range of stakeholders, including: farm organisations; co-ops; the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc; and various financial institutions in order to navigate through the current fodder shortage that is affecting the north and north-west regions.

AgriLand understands that – yesterday (Tuesday, December 5) – the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, met with all the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) county chairpersons from the north and north-west regions, including Cavan and Monaghan, to engage in open and frank discussions on the issue.

Engagement is expected to continue and deepen, with the aim of actively supporting farmers on the ground. The new action group is expected to meet before Christmas.

Speaking to AgriLand, Minister Creed said: “We had very positive engagements with one of the farming organisations yesterday and we discussed how it might be opportune to proceed.

“We will be convening a broader stakeholder group in conjunction with Teagasc, department officials and other stakeholders to closely monitor how the situation is developing and how it might be appropriate – if determined by that group – to intervene at a later stage.

“I don’t want to pre-empt or prejudge what that group will say. Anecdotally, it has been articulated at two public meetings in the west in recent days the scale of the issue and other associated issues which were raised.

“We are going to convene this group now and await its constant feedback as to what might be the appropriate next steps. We would hope the group will meet before Christmas,” the minister concluded.