Airport to aid farmers hit by fodder crisis

Airport to aid farmers hit by fodder crisis


File Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

Shannon Airport has pledged its support to farmers battling the current fodder crisis by offering to repeat its intervention of 2013 when it harvested silage from its 400 acre site.

The Airport’s operations team will meet with farm representatives over the coming days to explore the need to fast-track cutting of grass on the airport grounds in light of the severe difficulties faced by many farmers due to the prolonged inclement winter and spring weather.

The airport’s grass husbandry programme is not due to see any grass inside the airport perimeter cut until later in the summer, but in light of the shortages, the airport is offering to bring it forward to support local farmers. Five years ago, in late April, farmers received 1,600 bales of silage from the airport in what was then the most severe fodder crisis in living memory.

Annual grass cutting underway in Shannon in April 2017 – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2017

Said Airport Operations Director Niall Maloney:  “Farmers were in difficulty back then and, having seen just how important our intervention was, we have been watching the situation closely over the past few weeks and will be making the same offer to farmers’ representatives again when we meet them.

“We are a community airport and were delighted then to do what we could and the farmers were hugely appreciative. It was a critical intervention for many local farmers and so well received that other airports followed our lead and we hope they will do so again this time also,” he said.

“A lot could happen in a week if the weather improves and we get more growth but as of now, many farmers are experiencing major problems. We’ve seen a lot of fodder imported over the past week as a result, the introduction of emergency government supports and we are willing to play our part also,” Mr Maloney added.

Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.