Dairy farms seek measures to offset €800m income hit

ICMSA president Pat McCormack.

Joe Dermody

Irish dairy farmers need a fodder import scheme to help offset a drought-related €800m income hit in 2018, said ICMSA president Pat McCormack.

The dairy farmer group is seeking concrete measures to boost fodder supplies and to reduce demand for fodder by boosting live exports. His figures are based on the Teagasc mid-year farm income assessment.

“The Government must bring in the meat processors and agree a plan that will allow farmers reduce stock number in a financially feasible way,” said Mr McCormack.

From speaking to farmers, the fodder deficits on farms, with probably three months growth at best left this year, is alarming and the Government needs to put in place effective measures now.

“In addition, cashflow pressures are now also coming to the fore and the Brexit Loan scheme has to be implemented. This was announced almost a year ago and farmers cannot understand why it has not been implemented.

"This is in sharp contrast to the loan scheme for other SMEs, which has been in place for many months. We’re in a cashflow crisis and this loan scheme must be rolled out now.”

The Department of Agriculture has been given permission by the EU to roll out some farm payments six weeks earlier than planned.

The ICMSA said the basic payment scheme (BPS) has improved, but many farmers are still awaiting payments from the GLAS scheme.

“GLAS payments must be made within the Charter commitments, otherwise, an advance payment is irrelevant,” said Pat McCormack.

“GLAS payments have not been made within Charter in previous years and this cannot re-occur. The GLAS conditions must be further reviewed to allow the maximum amount of fodder to be harvested from GLAS farms over the rest of this year.”

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