As farmers across Ireland continue to face increased pressures as a result of the above average wet winter weather, the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Noble McNeely, has this week written to ministers asking them to remember farming communities in prayer at this Sunday’s church services.
In his letter, Dr. McNeely said that on travelling around the country over the past few months he had been made acutely aware of the critical situation farmers have been experiencing. He said the above average wet weather has been particularly prolonged and has led to grave circumstances for farmers.
Dr McNeilly added: ““Currently farmers are feeling the pressure due to the livestock difficulties and the crisis related to the resulting fodder situation. The weather over the next few weeks, or even days will affect the availability of fodder and whether the situation improves, or becomes more critical.
“Having been in contact with farmers’ representatives and others, they tell me that the prolonged period of wet weather has put major pressure on farmers. For example, cattle have been housed for much longer than expected, silage making last autumn was difficult and a period of low temperatures has also been a contributory factor to slow growing conditions for grass. At the same time, livestock feed bills have increased and the growth of winter crops has been affected, which in turn has meant a delay in the planting of spring crops.”
The Moderator concluded his letter by saying that he recognised the serious situation facing farmers and families across Ireland and asked the Church’s ministers to pray specifically for the following this Sunday:
· For improved weather and the drying out of water saturated land
· For the conditions that will improve fodder and enable the sowing of spring crops
· For farmers and their families currently coping with the physical and mental demands
· For farmers and their families in our congregations to be steadfast in faith and know the assurance and enabling of the Holy Spirit.