IFA writes to Co-Ops to keep sup­port­ing April milk price as hard­ship on farms con­tin­ues

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - FARMING MATTERS -

IFA National Dairy Chair­man Tom Phe­lan re­cently wrote to all co-ops Chair­men and CEOs on be­half of the Com­mit­tee.

The let­ter, which the Com­mit­tee re­quested be read at the next board meet­ing, ex­pressed ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the support pro­vided thus far by most co-ops, but stressed that the cri­sis is not over yet, and farm­ers need con­tin­ued support.

Wex­ford IFA Dairy Chair­man, Michael Ga­han said, “Farm­ers need the co-ops to stand be­hind them in this dif­fi­cult pe­riod. The best way they can demon­strate this support is through the milk price they pay.

“Our Com­mit­tee mem­bers voiced their strong views that co-ops must con­tinue to back farm­ers de­spite chal­leng­ing mar­kets.

“Dairy farm­ers have just gone through their eighth month of win­ter this April, which started early for many last Septem­ber. Soil and air tem­per­a­tures have been slow to rise, and many farms are still strug­gling to keep cows out day and night over a month later than nor­mal.

“Milk che­ques have been de­pressed by price cuts, but also by lower vol­umes and con­stituents. Feed costs have in­creased mas­sively as farm­ers have had to cope with the fod­der cri­sis. The work­load has not eased af­ter the in­tensely busy calv­ing pe­riod, and this is fur­ther com- pounded by labour short­ages on many farms.

“Farm­ers are stressed, ex­hausted, wor­ried about their abil­ity to meet their fi­nan­cial com­mit­ments, and fac­ing burnout. Some co-ops are so aware of this that they have in­cluded the con­tact de­tails of the Samar­i­tans in their news­let­ters.

“This is why it is vi­tal that coops would find ways, this month again, to support their sup­pli­ers by minimising any fur­ther ad­just­ment to the payout on April milk sup­plies.

“I urge the man­age­ment and board of ev­ery co-op, when de­cid­ing the April milk price, to take due ac­count of the ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances and the un­prece­dented lev­els of stress be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced by dairy farm­ers this spring,” Michael Ga­han con­cluded.

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