Farmers for Action has issued a statement on the difficulties surrounding farming in Northern Ireland during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It stressed the importance of the implementation of measures to ensure farmers can continue working during the current crisis.
Nature does not wait
William Taylor, Farmers for Action Northern Ireland, stated that life on UK farms is not getting any easier with Covid-19. “People have to eat to live, therefore, food will always be needed and should never, ever be taken for granted.”
“Down on the farm, nature waits for nobody, as lambs and calves are born and spring work in the fields is in full swing and must be done, in order to plant, sow and tend growing crops already in the ground. It’s the farmers that supply what fills supermarket shelves”.
One big problem in the UK farming sector, he outlined, is sourcing essential goods. “Farmers in Northern Ireland and across the UK are finding it hard to purchase daily farm needs such as repair services and many more of the 123 average suppliers needed to keep the UK’s farms running on a daily basis.”
Taylor said that farmers are finding it hard to source labour in their absence, should they contract the coronavirus. “As always farmers are resilient, but their families and workforce are also vulnerable to COVID19, as cases confirm, they too need staff to replace them during anticipated recovery as nature doesn’t wait.”
“They too are finding it difficult to recruit and pay staff of the right calibre, capable of attending to robot milking parlours, capable of operating tractors with computer controls, capable of spotting a sick animal across a field and attending to it, capable of knowing when to carry out the next dressing to a crop and what type of weather is required to do so.”
The Farmers for Action representative went on to commend the haulage companies during this period, especially those collecting milk. “This army of haulage workers and drivers move your food daily, representing 57% of the freight that always moves on the UK’s roads in order to feed you.”
“We must take our hats off to these people who collectively cannot afford to get sick themselves, for your sake,” he concluded.