Thursday, 3 April 2014
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Severe Weather Events Response
217. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will introduce a funding programme for farmers whose private land has been seriously damaged due to the recent flooding events; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15857/14]
I recognise the difficulties and the hardship that have been experienced by the farming community as a result of the recent severe weather conditions. In response to this particularly bad spell of weather my Department put in place a number of supports to assist farmers who were adversely affected. For farmers who had concerns over animal welfare or were unable to feed their animals my Department provided an Animal Welfare Helpline, which is still in operation (Lo Call 1850 – 211990), which farmers could contact to seek help. In addition, my Department kept in contact with farm organisations through the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council, whose members on the ground were well placed to assess the situation.
I also requested that Teagasc provide practical advice to all farmers on steps which could be taken to deal with their particular problems. I know that some farmers were particularly concerned that slurry tanks were almost full and ground conditions not suitable for spreading and Teagasc advisers were on hand to provide advice on how to address such situations. The recent welcome improvement in the weather should lead to an improvement in ground conditions. On drier ground, this will allow some field work to be carried out and provide opportunities to reduce pressure on slurry storage tanks and to apply some early fertiliser.
Farmers still need to be careful to budget their remaining fodder stocks. I know that fodder reserves remain available within the country but it is critical that stocks are well managed and stretched as much as possible.