Northern Ireland

Taskforce set up to support Northern Ireland farmers

Michelle O'Neill
Image caption The taskforce has been set up by Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill

NI Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill has established a taskforce to support farmers affected by the continuing poor weather.

A year and a half of wet weather has reduced the quantity and quality of animal feed.

"We are currently experiencing wet, cool weather which has had a significant negative impact on grazing conditions," she said.

She said this and a late spring had led to a rise in fodder costs.

"My officials met industry stakeholders today and reported back to me," the minister added.

"I will be bringing to the executive my assessment of the difficulties facing the industry, and seeking support.

"I have also decided to set up a taskforce of the interested parties to look at what we can do immediately and to mitigate future problems."

Ms O'Neill said advisers would offer a range of services, including using their local knowledge to put farmers without fodder in contact with sources of supply.

"My officials will continue to monitor the situation across the north and bring this information to the taskforce," she said.

"I have asked to be regularly updated, and that the taskforce brings forward recommendations to me by the end of May."

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