Editorial: Taking stock of the year that was


That's Farming Editor John Connell takes a look back on the year that was and some of the highlights of That's Farmings work.

Editorial: Taking stock of the year that was

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That's Farming Editor John Connell takes a look back on the year that was and some of the highlights of That's Farmings work.

Editorial Taking stock of the year that was

It’s that time of year again the new born calves are playing in the straw in the sheds. The weanlings are putting on good weight and I’m taking stock of the year that was.

It’s been a busy year on the farm between lambing, calving, silage and hay making and its been a busy year in agriculture in Ireland.

Like the adage goes always there is change. We saw milk prices rise for the last 4 months after a collapse a year ago and that I know is allowing my dairy neighbours to breathe a little easier. Of the tillage men my heart goes out to them because 2016 was a disaster for many west of the Shannon, rain and climate change will I fear drive many tillage men of the west out of business.

The beef industry rattles on and 2016 saw more mergers and takeovers with Kepak and ABP growing yet again and the rest of us wondering where will it ever stop? There were calls for co-op slaughterhouses and intervention on competition law grounds but nothing came of it. We are a quiet lot it seems.

Then the tragic news of farm deaths kept coming and coming and coming and for the last four months we’ve lost nearly a farmer a week. It’s a terrible figure and one I’ve wrote on before. It does need to be talked about again however. Farm Accidents are decimating our industry and sector. If it were any other trade people would be out in the streets protesting. It is the most unsafe industry in the country and its time we acted. Readers have suggested to me about the introduction of a farm safe pass for all farmers.

It worked in the building industry perhaps it might work here too?

Editorially it was a very interesting year at That’s Farming. Our coverage of the Tillage crisis made national headlines and had the President and Taoiseach talking on the matter. We broke the story of the cattle tag monopoly and gained some friends and perhaps enemies in the process. The final approval of Cormac Tagging was however a great vindication that in the end sometimes the little guy does win and truth prevails.

We laughed at the funny pictures and videos our readers sent in and shared their grief at the loss of animals. We were angry about the issue of weed killer being used on our tillage crops and we’re glad to bring that issue to light. Its currently being debated in Europe and was raised in the Dail by many TD’s on the back of our journalist Tom Jordan’s work.

Surprisingly a story that really resonated with the readers was our coverage on the green diesel tax and usage. Perhaps it’s time the government rethought their approach on it and allowed farmers to use it in their farm jeeps etc.

Christmas week is always a quiet time in Ireland. We too hope it is a safe time and that all you and your family have a happy Christmas and New Year. We look forward to sharing more stories and news with you in 2017. There's a lot to look forward to.

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