Councillor Michael Naughton has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to provide a meal voucher scheme to farmers.
Speaking at a municipal district meeting in Donegal Town last week, Cllr Naughton says that he believes the scheme should be rolled out as a matter of urgency. He says that in light of the fodder shortage, a meal voucher scheme is a more substantial system when compared to the grass-based fodder.
Cllr. Naughton called on Minster Creed to roll out this system as a priority and to put to use some of the departmental money that was underspent last year (€78m).
The councillor says that he can’t see why some of this money could not be used to assist the affected farmers, as he comments that “farmers out there at the moment are struggling and looking at their livestock not knowing where the next feed is coming from,” he says.
“I do appreciate Minister Creed installed the fodder transport system however this system is not working for the farmers, this system only applies if fodder is travelling over 100 miles, also this fodder has to be bought in the co-ops.
“All this system is doing is putting outing up the price of baled silage or baled hay.”
Cllr Naughton says that he fears that Minister Creed does not grasp the extent of the issue.
“I don’t think Minister Creed realises the seriousness of the situation, farmers and their families in Donegal from Bundoran to Glencolmcille and this North West region are being put under massive financial strain in order to feed their livestock.
“It’s being raining since last July with no let-up and this is putting extra pressure on fodder, cattle had to be housed early because of the condition of the land.”