Fodder Crisis Family Support Fund launched by the ICSA

A new initiative to support farm families deeply affected by stress arising from the fodder crisis has been announced by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

The fund was unveiled by the organisation at the ICSA 25th anniversary dinner celebrations, which took place on Friday night (September 7).

The ICSA Fodder Crisis Family Support Fund aims to reach out to those farmers who cannot cope with all of the pressures and worries created by a lack of fodder.

On the night, ICSA general secretary Eddie Punch explained that fund was designed to provide help to families who needed one-on-one meetings, and working out a plan to help them get through the winter.

“We are not talking about buying or subsidising fodder here; we are talking about helping people to deal with stress, mental pressure, depression and also how to work out a strategy to deal with the challenges of making up the fodder deficit,” Punch said.

The ICSA dinner was preceded by two break-out meetings; one on fodder strategies, facilitated by Martin Ryan of Gain Nutrition, and one on mental health.

The mental health meeting, entitled “Tackle Your Feelings” saw award-winning farmer Pete Hynes outline the importance of strategies to achieve work/life balance.

Also attended by Tackle Your Feelings ambassador, former Irish rugby legend John Hayes, the session emphasised how farmers need to put family and mental health first.

Punch explained that the two sessions brought together the objectives of the new ICSA initiative.

“The ICSA is putting a proportion of the membership fee towards having the resources to reach out and help those families who can’t cope.

We will have meetings around the country over the coming months and will liaise with other agencies to find the farmers who are suffering the most.

“We would urge any farmer or their family who can’t cope to contact us and we will try our best to link them up with professional people who can find solutions,” Punch said.