So far, the issue of the fodder shortage does not seem to have troubled the pages of SV, and I’m hoping that this letter may be a first.
Briefly, for those of you who have not been following the “crisis,” it seems that the prolonged wet winter has meant that Irish farmers have not been able to allow their cattle outdoors to graze. This means that farmers have been forced to feed fodder instead of grass to their cattle.
Due to the prolonged bad weather conditions, supplies of fodder are dangerously low. In some cases they have completely run out.
Now here’s where my issues begin. Most of these farmers are private operators and are not noted for their revolutionary Marxist politics, but one of the first demands of their leaders was for the government (i.e. the taxpayer) to foot the bill for imported fodder.
Many commentators have mentioned that gases emitted from cattle are a major contributing factor to climate change. One of the results of this change is the long wet winters which Ireland is now experiencing. So, will the taxpayers’ money be spent on a climate-damaging exercise?
Worst of all, the state (i.e. the taxpayer) is facing EU fines of up to €450 million in 2020 for missing legally binding targets on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The dairy industry is one of the culprits, if not the major culprit.
My second question is whether the unsuspecting taxpayer will pay twice, firstly for the fodder and secondly for the ensuing fine.
I’m hoping, through the good offices of the SV letters page, to clear up some of my questions, as I’m sure that there’s a vast bank of agricultural knowledge among our readers. Who knows, this may lead to a SV farming column.