In what seems to be a national surge in outrage, political candidates and national organisations are getting further involved with the tillage crisis in particular. Today, the focus is on Michael Fitzmaurice, an Independent Candidate from the Roscommon/Galway area.
After ThatsFarming.com covered this exclusive story on the tillage issue, we spoke to several farmers whose stories you can read here. We were also addressed by Minister Michael Creed in a direct statement on the issue. Minister Creed said that he ‘will convene a meeting of Tillage stakeholders shortly’.
However, Michael Fitzmaurice began to call the Minister out on what should be done in a series of Facebook posts last night, which you can see here.
Speaking to That’s Farming today, Wednesday 21st September, Michael says he is on the way to the Ploughing Championships and will put forward his concerns and suggestions directly to Minister Creed.
“I expect to meet him at the Ploughing today. I’ve spoken to farmers in trouble in Galway, Mayo, Donegal and Sligo,” explained Mr. Fitzmaurice.
These areas in particular have been hit hard by tillage issues, with the addition of West Cork being badly affected. In his online statement, Fitzmaurice asks that an aid package for Tillage Farmers be put in place immediately: “The last thing we need is for tillage farmers to be going out of business. The time to act is now.”
The dire situation that farmers find themselves in is reiterated by Fitzmaurice, who states that ‘some of the spring barley and oats is in such poor condition that it is gone back into the ground and as a result of the disastrous harvest there will be no straw gathered either’.
He also speaks about the soil conditions in the West and North West, where cattle are being put back into sheds already. In a suggestion that most farmers would find extremely helpful, Fitzmaurice asks that the Farmyard Manure deadline be extended to the middle of November, and the slurry spreading deadline be pushed back to late October.
“Farmers have slurry in tanks ready to spread but even if we get a dry spell now the deadline for spreading is too tight. I am calling on the Minister today to extend the deadline from October 15th to the end of October and I also want him to extend the Farmyard Manure deadline to the middle of November.”
The announcement would need to made sooner rather than later, as Michael points out that the usual last-minute extension announcements are far too late to benefit farmers, and by this time, the stress and damage is already done.
Hopefully the Minister will listen to Mr. Fitzmaurice’s suggestions. We’ll have more updates on this as they develop.