Commenting after attending the Teagasc Conference on Weather Patterns, Patrick Rohan, chair of ICMSA Farm Services and Environment Committee, said that after the fodder crisis of 2012 and the first half of 2013, it is imperative that the whole sector grasps the necessity to plan better for future weather events and that necessity must extend to policymaking at both national and EU level.
“Despite the improved weather conditions and product prices in the second half of 2013, it’s an unfortunate fact that not all farmers made it through the fodder crisis and many of those who did come through it are still paying the bills the fodder crisis brought and will be paying those bills well into 2014. The issue of weather forecasting needs to be re-examined and it would be timely to re-establish the Agmet Group who examined this issue a number of years ago. In terms of harvesting crops, short-term weather forecasting is hugely important and farmers are becoming increasingly concerned by the accuracy, or otherwise, of current weather forecasting and renewed investment is needed in this regard”, said Mr Rohan
“The physical, mental and financial problems of 2012/13 took a huge toll on many farmers and under CAP Post- 2013, a Crisis Reserve Fund will be established by cutting all farmers Single Farm Payments by 1% per year. If a Crisis Reserve Fund is to mean anything, it must mean that it will be made available to support farmers during severe weather events and the Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine must ensure that this is the case because unstable and extreme weather shocks are as big an issue as product price shocks and the science is pointing towards the likelihood of them becoming much more frequent. We must learn from the crisis of last year and ensure that we are better prepared for future events”, he said.