DARD Minister Michelle O’Neill today (Thursday 18 July) published an Action Plan agreed by the members of the Fodder Taskforce.
The Minister established the Taskforce in the wake of the unfavourable weather and difficult farming conditions during the spring. It was tasked with identifying the issues facing the livestock industry in the next 12 months and to propose measures that could be taken by the industry and DARD to mitigate their effects.
The Minister recognised the work of the Taskforce members in producing the Action Plan and said: “The Taskforce has identified a wide range of issues which have potential to affect the farming industry over the next year. These include grassland management, grass growth and nutrient management, budgeting and management of fodder stocks, concentrate prices, animal health issues, reduced outputs and financial pressures on farmers.
“Many of the actions in the plan have been initiated already and I am pleased that CAFRE’s range of advisory events to date have been well attended. I would encourage livestock farmers to avail of the advice available in management notes and bulletins in the press and on the DARD website. In particular, I would encourage them to stocktake in order to plan and manage their fodder supply and stock numbers for the months ahead.”
The Minister added: “Farmers can do a lot now to lessen any knock-on effects of what has been an extraordinary growing season. With the support of DARD and organisations such as feed suppliers, food processors and the banking industry, we can work together to ensure that our farmers are in a better position to face the winter period. I recognise that this can be a very worrying time and I am particularly pleased that Rural Support is part of the Taskforce and is engaging with the members and others to maximise the support provided to our farmers.”