Editorial: Kilkenny farmers deserve the support of the county

This week's editorial

Darren Hassett

Reporter:

Darren Hassett

Email:

darren.hassett@kilkennypeople.ie

Government urged to act on fodder crisis

County hit hard by fodder shortage

The current national fodder crisis has hit Kilkenny hard, but it’s no surprise, given the county’s vibrant agricultural sector. It’s an industry in which thousands of families and businesses are reliant on here.

Farmers from Castlecomer to Mooncoin have been and for some; will continue to be, under enormous emotional and physical stress as they endeavour to feed their animals during the fodder shortage.

We heard this week that there is nothing worse for farmers than to have a shed full of livestock bawling from the hunger.

You’d have to feel for the farmers and the livestock too. It’s not a farm management issue, this is a national crisis arising from an historically long winter.

It would have been impossible to negotiate a farm’s fodder budget (surplus included) around inclement weather as wet, as cold and as long as it has been.

It would have been anticipated that animals would have been out in the fields since late February, early March. It’s now the second week of April and there’s two maybe even three weeks left in this crisis yet.

The community of farming has come together, again, that’s no surprise. Friends, neighbours, relatives and distant relatives have all looked to help each other where they can with fodder supplies.

Farmers also deserve the support of the rest of the public for one simple reason - they’re always there for you. When snow drifts several feet high blocked in rural communities earlier this year, who cleared the roads so people could get out of their homes? Farmers did.

Who form part of the backbone of Tidy Town groups, GAA clubs and parishes the length and breadth of Kilkenny? Farmers do.

They’re of huge economic importance to many local communities around the county too and their incomes will have been hit by this fodder crisis.

Help them where you can, even if it’s just a flying visit and a chat over a slice of tart and a cup of tea.