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First Meeting of Fodder and Food Security Committee

Over 30 organisations were represented at the first meeting of the National Fodder and Food Security Committee which took place last Friday, 11 March 2022, in Teagasc Moorepark. The group was set up to support the national response to the unfolding feed, fertiliser and energy supply issues created by the war in Ukraine.

Speaking at the first meeting, Mike Magan, Chair of the Fodder and Food Security Committee said; “The role of this group is to prepare an industry response and to develop contingency plans and advice to assist farmers in managing their farm enterprises through a period of high input price inflation and potential supply chain pressures. We will focus on what actions we can take, with the initial focus on the steps that are time critical and that need to be taken in the short term over the next three weeks.”

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD said; ”I established this committee to ensure that as a sector we can respond effectively and rapidly to a considerable challenge. The illegal invasion of Ukraine is likely to cause disruption to our supply chains. We must remain prepared to react to any potential outcome.”

He said; “Farmers are prepared to lead out and face this challenge head on, and I will support them in any way I can in terms of growing more crops and grass silage. I thank Teagasc Director, Professor Frank O’Mara and Chair of the Committee Mike Magan for their leadership on this. I stand firmly behind our farm families in what is likely to be a challenging time ahead.”

Teagasc Director, Professor Frank O’Mara said; “Farmers have seen an impact on energy, fuel prices, fertilizer prices, and animal feed prices. These are causing major disruption to farm businesses across all the enterprises, but are having a particularly high impact on the pig and poultry sectors in Ireland. There are challenges too for horticulture growers. We are heading into a critical window for fertilising for high quality first cut silage and for sowing any additional tillage or forage crops. Teagasc are working closely with all stakeholders in the agri-food sector and with the Department of Agriculture to assist producers in adapting and planning to overcome this business disruption.”

Professor O’Mara said; “Teagasc advisory staff will be contacting all farmer clients over the coming weeks, to deliver technical messages on how each farmer can respond to the current situation and build resilience into their farm business. We are urging all farmers to think in a 14 month time horizon to consider what actions they can take now to guard against further market disruption into 2023.”