“Many farmers will be forced out of business if nothing changes soon for farmers who are facing an unprecedented input cost crisis.”
That is the stark warning Independent TD, Michael Collins, issued during a Dáil debate on agriculture, fisheries, and food security last Thursday (May 12th, 2022).
He told the chamber that there are now “growing fears” that many farm businesses may go under because of “soaring” farm input prices.
He told the house that even before the current input cost crisis, farmers were facing a “unique” set of acute and chronic stressors.
Collins pointed to media criticism, farm bureaucracy, animal and crop disease outbreaks, climate conditions, workplace hazards, rural crime, time pressures, finance, machinery breakdown and isolation.
He said that an array of spiralling input costs – which are completely eroding margins that were already “through the roof” – are hitting farmers nationwide.
He claimed that the government has failed to address this crisis in “any proper manner”.
Collins said the Rural Independent Group has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Government to address this “urgent” crisis since last summer.
Fodder and pig farmers’ support
The deputy then referenced the Fodder Support Scheme, which the government announced recently, that carries a payment of up to €1,000/farmer.
Collins stated that “like everything else this Government announces, the devil is in the detail”.
“A farmer who has a milking cow will not get a cent. Most of the suckler farmers who will qualify will only get €200-€300. That is the bottom line.”
“That is what they are telling me in west Cork. Many farmers will not have the amount of land to qualify for the full amount.”
Furthermore, he described the recently announced €13 Pig Exceptional Payment Scheme 2 as “grossly insufficient” to meet the sector’s growing needs.
He accused the government of “remaining silent, taking no action, being out of touch and arrogant”.
“Many farmers are now saying to us they are unable to take ongoing losses,” he told the chamber.
“The lack of action on the part of the government to support farm families is bitterly unfair and cruel. Farmers cannot and certainly should not be treated in this manner,” he concluded.
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