Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue is formulating a package of supports to ensure farmers can grow enough feed and fodder, Agriland can confirm.
The minister called a meeting of several farm organisations on Tuesday night (March 8) where a National Fodder and Food Security Committee (NFFSC) was established to guide the sector through the likely supply chain disruptions resulting from the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
The NFFSC will meet on Friday, March 11 where they will work on developing a farm resilience plan.
“I am acutely aware of the challenges facing our farm families and their businesses. I am intervening early to head off any potential issues later in the year,” McConalogue said this evening (Wednesday, March 9).
“I asked the farm organisations to a meeting on Tuesday where we set the new committee to plot out how we, as an industry, can navigate our way through these challenging times.
“Speed is of the urgency here as we have time to plot and plan. This is the most important agenda in my department at the moment,” the minister added.
Fodder support package
The minister said that he has intervened at the earliest possible stage to ensure that all stakeholders can work collectively and collaboratively to help farmers offset the challenges ahead.
“This is about getting advice out to our farmers on how to grow more grass, how to grow grains and cereals and, crucially, how they maximise the growing season to ensure they are covered for the year ahead,” he said.
“I will work with the committee as well as with my colleagues Ministers [Pippa] Hackett and [Martin] Heydon to ensure we are resilient and robust for the time ahead.”
Agriland has learned that as a result of the engagement with farm organisations on Tuesday, the minister has begun work on a package of supports to ensure that farmers are as best placed to meet the challenges ahead.
These include supports around:
- Addressing the increasing costs facing farmers in growing fodder crops;
- Accessing databases of organic manures;
- Stronger incentives to sow crops such as red clover and multi-species swards which are less dependent on chemical fertiliser;
- Supports for the planting of tillage crops and fodder crops.
This will be backed up by the work of the NFFSC in rapidly disseminating information to farmers. The minister is expected to bring this multi-million euro package to cabinet before the end of March.