IN this time of uncertainty, it’s important that we pull together and help one another to get through this tough time, according to Ciara Sheehan, PRO of West Cork IFA.
‘The IFA will do all we can through our branch and county structure to help farmers,’ she said. ‘It is vital that we all take every precautionary measure possible to reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19. In some cases where the virus is contracted, it is possible that farmers may be unable to carry out work on the farm.
‘It is also possible that some farmers, or other family members, may need to self-isolate away from their farms. In order to reduce the risk of infection, it is important that farmers follow all hygiene and self-isolation protocols and keep up to speed with HSE advice.’
‘In the case where a farmer is unable to farm, it is important that someone else can step in to assist, Ciara continued. ‘The IFA have recently devised a “Plan B” template for farmers to use in this scenario. When completed, it will make the usual farm duties easier for someone else to take over while the farmer is unable to carry these out him/herself. For most, this won’t be an issue.
‘For a farmer who needs help, we will pull together to make sure we keep your farm working. And, we are asking you to make it easier for us to help you,’ she added. The Plan B template can be downloaded at www.ifa.ie/planb
A new national support line is now available for older people to avail of. This is run by ALONE in collaboration with the Dept. of Health and the HSE. It is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, on 0818 222 024 (hours may be extended to meet the demand).
Please make older family and friends aware of the support line and encourage them to call 0818 222 024, if they require any advice or practical support. The IFA is encouraging everyone to check in on neighbours by phone, particularly those who may live alone or are vulnerable.
West Cork IFA issued a special word of thanks to all drivers (milk collections, feed and fertiliser deliveries, etc), those working in the processing plants (both dairy and meat), marts, vets, advisory services, office workers and all the service providers that keep farms operational.
While all meetings at branch, county and national level have been suspended, the IFA remains operational and staff are available to assist. It has developed a specific website for Covid-19 farm-related updates: www.ifa.ie/COVID19.
‘For the four million people in Ireland and another 30 million around the world who rely on us for nutritious, quality food,’ concluded Ciara, ‘We have to stay strong and united.’