IFA president, Joe Healy.
Globe-trotting IFA president
Joe Healy can be a hard man to keep track of.
Despite finding time to attend a number of
Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) branch and
county executive meetings last month, eating
more dinners than can be good for even a slim
and trim Galwayman, and arguing the case
for farming on radio, television and any other
available media outlet, Joe also made time
during December to address the very impressive
Department of Food, Agriculture and the Marine
(DAFM)-organised Food Wise conference in
Croke Park. The following week he turned up
in Buenos Aires to monitor the now-postponed
Mercosur talks, noting the `toxic' drift towards
more access for South American beef to an
already fully supplied EU market. When the talks
ended without agreement, Joe headed to the
airport, got a flight to Heathrow and then went
straight onto another flight to Brussels to keep
an eye on the EU leaders summit meeting, where
Brexit was the main topic. That still left 10 busy
days before, hopefully, a welcome Christmas
respite with his wife Margaret and family on the
farm in Athenry.
A new president has been
appointed to the Irish Creamery
Milk Suppliers Association
(ICMSA). Tipperary dairy farmer,
Pat McCormack, has succeeded
John Comer for an initial three-
year period in the role.
Mr McCormack (40), who served
as deputy president for the past six
years, and who was a former chair
of the ICMSA's Dairy Committee,
was elected, unopposed, at a
National Council meeting. Lorcan
McCabe was elected, unopposed,
as Mr McCormack's deputy.
Mr McCormack used his first
public statement as president to
reinforce the aim of the ICMSA.
He said that, while the organisation
will continue to work for and
with any group, or individual,
interested in highlighting rural
issues, the ICMSA's focus will
always be fixed on the income
of its core family dairy-farm
membership and the milk price on
which that income depends. "The
ICMSA refuses to accept that the
farmers who produced the milk
on which a whole multi-billion-
euro dairy sector was built, could
be considered some kind of
afterthought at the mercy of either
the processors or the retailers,"
he said. Mr McCormack also
identified Brexit, Mercosur, the
Common Agricultural Policy and
the environment as issues that will
dominate the opening period of
his presidency. He said the ICMSA
would continue to ensure the voice
of Ireland's dairy farmers is heard
`loud and clear' in the formation
of policy for farming and agri-food
Shane O'Loughlin is the new
chair of the Farm Business
Committee, Des Morrison is chair
of the Livestock Committee, and
Denis Drennan has been elected
chair of the Farm & Rural Affairs
ICMSA president, Pat McCormack.
Success for Irish ploughing team
in world competition
The Irish teams achieved success at the recent
World Ploughing Contest in Njoro, Kenya. Ireland's
representatives on the world stage, John Whelan
and Eamonn Tracey, won first and silver places,
respectively, for Ireland in Kenya. Wexford man
John Whelan fought off tough competition with an
outstanding performance to become Supreme World
Ploughing Reversible Champion for his country.
Eamonn Tracey also secured a silver place victory in
the Conventional Class.
The successful Irish ploughing team.