I have raised the plight of the family farm considering the unprecedented ride in the costs of fertilisers, feedstuff and fuel in a Dáil debate this week.

The unprecedented rise in costs is causing severe problems for farmers and this has been borne out by the CSO figures released this week.

“The CSO figures released this week show huge financial challenges being faced by farmers in 2022 as input costs soar and are wiping out any marginal increases in output prices currently being received”.

“Fertiliser prices rose almost 25% in December alone compared to November and were up 86.9% on December 2020 levels. Electricity prices were up over 22%. Fuel was up almost 40%, Feed up 15.9% and Plastics prices have also doubled resulting in additional cost in harvesting and wrapping silage”.

“The farmer has no avenue to recover these costs as the farmer is a price taker and is at the mercy of what price is prevailing on the day that he sells the beef or sheep in the Mart or at the factory gate. The farmer has no power over the selling price and right now they are being left with the option of reducing output and selling of stock”.

“Further with the volatility in the diplomatic crisis in Russia and Ukraine and the expected economic sanctions we will experience further increases in prices in fuel which will further add costs to all other farming inputs”.

“Supports must be put in place as a matter of urgency if we are to rescue the small family farms from wipeout. The negative impact will lead less production and output, less income for the farmer and eventually more increases in food for the consumer. This crisis extends beyond the farmyard and will further impact negatively on the cost of living for all”.

“Measures such as direct payments, vat reduction and exemption from carbon tax all need to be considered as a matter of urgency, the lack of transparency in the regulation of prices for farm products also needs to be sorted so that below cost selling is banned and farmers are protected”.

“The vista of young people leaving the farming industry is a reality and it is very worrying that this will leave us a poorer country in the long term. We need to ensure that our farm families are viable and offer a sustainable livelihood for an industry who have a great reputation worldwide for the products we can deliver globally”.