Storm Emma: Farmers welcome Glanbia milk subsidy in wake of extreme weather

Storm Emma: Farmers welcome Glanbia milk subsidy in wake of extreme weather

Update 6pm:Farmers are welcoming an announcement by Glanbia that they will pay a subsidy for milk that cannot be collected during Storm Emma.

Milk collections have resumed in some areas today - but further difficulty is still being experienced by farm producers around the country.

The IFA's Joe Healy says it is a welcome sign of support that others may hopefully follow - but the key issue is to get milk collections back up and running.

He said: "The average over the years is 26c per litre to produce a litre of milk, this time of year is a lot more expensive, but at least 20c will help to cover the costs.

"It goes against a farmers nature to have to dump any top quality foods.

"Hopefully the councils and locals farmers will be able to clear the roads so that milk lorries can travel."

Earlier: The President of the Irish Farmers Association says dairy farms are facing a crisis due to the current weather conditions.

A rising number of farmers throughout the country are at risk of large financial losses as their milk cannot be collected due to snow and ice on roads.

Consumers could be impacted as farmers may be forced to dispose of stored milk if it is not collected urgently.

The IFA are urging local authorities to co-ordinate their actions with co-ops to prioritise the clearing of roads leading to dairy farms.

Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Food Jackie Cahill said: "Dairy farmers have been storing their milk but with no collections, there is simply no capacity left in most farms.

“On my own farm outside Thurles, we haven’t had a collection since Wednesday. I’m at full capacity right now – every drop that’s milked from now on will have to be simply poured down the drains.

“Unless access to dairy farms is restored, the Irish dairy industry will lose significant volumes of milk and income for farmers,” said Cahill who is a former President of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association.

Storm Emma and the Beast from the East have made nearly all secondary roads impassable and many farmers in hilly areas have been unable to get access to sheep and other livestock.

Mr Cahill said: “I am calling on the Department of Agriculture and the National Emergency Coordination Committee to prioritise the reopening of roads to dairy farms.

“There is a significant amount of agricultural machinery available to the State, but we need to see better coordination between farmers, local authorities and bodies such as the Defence Forces and Civil Defence.

“This is a valuable commodity that is at the core of Ireland’s rural economy. Every single one of these farmers has budgeted for selling this milk. Any loss of income could have a terrible impact on farm incomes and on rural Ireland."

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