As was stated when this hack began to meaningfully comment on farming matters, to be actually actively involved in farming myself – albeit in an obviously limited manner – was the stuff of dreams. Yet, looking at it from a different angle, maybe it was destined to happen at some point.
The odyssey hasn’t stopped throwing up surprises. Thus, the oft mentioned fluidity in planning has been essential. When last affairs of the land were written of, the point was made that greatest advantage might be garnered from buying in lighter stock in terms of planning for the long term.
Long term has become the here and now. Dictated by market trends, it must be said. Buying weanlings wouldn’t have initially been on the radar. Even if it was though, Charolais quantities thereof would’ve been considered out of the league of operations an especial interest is retained in.
However, when a bit of quality crops up that looks too good to leave behind, it shouldn’t be. Before my involvement in agricultural matters became more intense, adventures out on the land would have long wrapped up for the year by now. That not being the case has led to some exciting experiments and patriotic expeditions. More on the latter anon!
Farming matters still being on the horizon in the final furlongs of the year has meant a few adjustments that mightn’t be routine for your ordinary establishment. Be that as it may, if heaven and earth were able to be moved to facilitate getting out on the land, they would be.
The point has been made several times that farming is a beloved form of therapy – a point that really hit home recently when a friend concurred with the long held train of thought. You see, thinking something yourself is one thing – but at least if somebody else franks that train of thought, you don’t feel as daft!
Years ago, it occurred to me that when I became involved in GAA at an administrative level, it had gone from being a hobby or passing interest to be one of the greatest passions in my life. It will forever remain so. Recent developments might suggest farming might be about to the same way.
Now, a passion for farming has always been there. This year, that has been ratcheted up to a level it was felt might never be reachable. Such matters may well be about to go another, intriguing, interesting direction. These wheels recently rolled into what was a first IFA meeting for their driver.
And it’s highly unlikely to be the last. Indeed, if past history is anything to go by, it certainly won’t be. By the end of my first GAA meeting, I emerged as club PRO and stayed there for 11 years! Circumstance brought that voyage to a premature and unfortunate end but another might just be afoot.
Heads turned and eyebrows raised as the ship (eventually) navigated a way into the meeting room. It’s something all and sundry may well have to get used to. There was a degree of apprehension on my own part as to what sort of reception I’d receive. No cause for alarm on that score, thankfully. Certainly it’s something that will be explored again in the new year. It could offer an outlet that might be more cherished and important now than ever before for many reasons.
Anyway, the reason for being there was to lend support to Eddie Downey’s push to be the next President of the IFA. I’ve never met Mr Downey (yet) but know that he has been involved at a high level in the organisation for many years. Apart from anything else, in some cases, a bit of patriotism is no harm – he’s a Meath man! Wouldn’t be a great thing to have one of our own leading farming into and through what will be a crucial period.
For whoever ends up the IFA’s new leader, the task will be an onerous one. Despite the decent summer being a welcome and needed relief to farmers, the agricultural sector faces some very real challenges going forward that will need to be met with strong and assertive leadership.
Foremost among them will be how farming is funded in future taking into account the restructured CAP. More than that, however, – and this point was raised here before – home markets have to be viable for farmers to produce in. That most certainly hasn’t always been the case.
What is for sure is that interesting but challenging times lie ahead both close to home and on a broader scale. In the meantime, the main hope would be that the poultry sector enjoys as satisfying a season as there produce usually is!