Sunday, 17th December 2017
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Farm accident figures not surprising

Dear editor

As an Agriculture commentator from

Rathgormack County Waterford I find that farm accidents figures are of no surprise.

With produce produced on the farm at dangerously low prices they are forcing farmers to do longer hours because they can’t afford hired in labour.

Cash shortage and debt build up is a real issue on farms when standards of working conditions can’t be improved or even maintained.

The worry of an Department of Agriculture inspection is also leading to even more stress.

With a combination of the age profile of farmers and then the real dangers are obvious. Manufacturers selling farm produce are selling it for prices which return very poor prices back to farmers in many cases. It amounts to reckless trading which is doing real damage at farm level. The consumers are paying record low historical prices for really good products when the farmer is getting paid in many cases in under the cost of production.

Products like corn, beef, Lamb, mushroom, poultry and pork are taking serious hits and will endanger these sectors if something doesn’t change. Milk prices have recovered from the very low level from 2015/2016 to bounce back but have left enormous amount of debt built up at farm level.

Corporate greed plays a role here because these make profit regardless and balance their books but ignore the producer. Rural Ireland will be damaged beyond repair if the situation doesn’t change.

Many farmers are doing in excess of 80 hours a week which lead to accidents because of tiredness and fatigue. The only way accidents will decrease is for more income being passed back at farm level.

Another real danger is that young people won’t go farming because of low income and the long hours involved in farming when compared to other sectors wages.

Yours sincerely

Michael Flynn,

Agriculture Commentator,

Rathgormack, Carrick-on-Suir.

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