The New Breed

The main headline on the front of the Farming section of the Irish Examiner had me interested. “The New Breed – More and more young farmers have overseas experience and third level training“. Naturally I was delighted to hear that more intelligent people were getting into the industry, because it’s the only way that we’re going to be given any real respect these days is if we can be clear and articulate in what we say. The last president of the IFA John Dillon did so much harm to farmers and how we are perceived, that i fear that it will be years before we can undo the damage that was done.

I read the article and could not get over the fact that it was nothing more than someones story of how they worked in New Zealand for a while and came back to Ireland to work here. Nothing utterly spectacular there … and that was it.

Every time I go the mart I encounter more than my fair share of gombeen men. I look around and have to wonder “am I one of these?”. I’d hope not really. They only follow the market, and do not understand how or why it is being influenced. It is hard for me to relate to these people. They have been at it a lot lot longer than me, and act like they know everything, yet they know little. Maybe the ignorance for them is bliss.

On the other hand, there are dozens of farmers that I know and can easily relate to. Well informed with a sharp mind, and ability to plan ahead 6-12 months. They don’t even have to be well educated. How they apply themselves is what matters. Anyone can work well out on the field, that’s easy, but it’s much more important to think about it first.

The article is here.


2 comments so far

  1. U.S.C.N.I.R. on

    Just read your profile there. . . . sounds like one of those great life epiphanies. Had a similar one myself whereby I used to work in telecoms chips R&D with the likes of but took a complete right turn 2 years ago and left engineering behind me.

    What prompted me to reply was your comment on John Dillon. According to the article 80,000 IFA members voted and democracy did rule so you must feel a bit like a fish out of water when you think that a majority of farmers are/were in tune with Dillon. After all wasn’t this the man that drove 20 millions tractors into Dublin and a herd of sheep into an EU meeting and farmers seemed to love it at the time.

  2. myBlogAdmin on
    A fish out of water, well yes and no. I’ve never been one for following the crowd. Yes, a lot of farmers do have trouble with low incomes, for a variety of reasons like: poor management, not enough land on which to make a reasonable living, burdening debts from the 80’s …. the list goes on.
    But the way the IFA were approaching the situation was to try to get the Irish Government and food processors to do something about it. They were looking for price setting at a time when the EC were in the process of dismantling their mechanisms for price stability (most notably “export refunds”). They wanted 90p/lb for beef at the factories. The factories gave in eventually, but a few weeks later the price rose above 96p/lb, only for it to fall back below 80p/lb some weeks later. The lesson was that markets will always dictate the price.

    On top of all that, as a food exporting nation, we can always expect to receive a price slightly lower than other EU countries because they will be supplying their own markets and don’t have shipping costs to deal with.
    They really needed to spend their time in the EC to try to get Franz Fischler & Co to manage those borders so that the EU will be able to feed itself, while still allowing imports from third countries to maintain prices close enough to world market prices. At the time, the EU was under considerable pressure at the world trade talks to concede more and more, and agriculture looked like coming out the worst. We survived. Now we have to deal with Peter Mandleson. Our enemy from the inside :(. If the worst happens at the world trade talks, we can forget about producing food in Europe, and look forward to mass starvation in Europe when the next major war happens.

    I could go on … but some other time

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