Interview: Joe Healy President of the IFA, and now member of the FBD board of directors.


With Joe Healy's recent appointment to the FBD board of directors, we spoke to Joe and Profiled him and his work in the industry. 

Interview: Joe Healy President of the IFA, and now member of the FBD board of directors.

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  • 2 years ago

With Joe Healy's recent appointment to the FBD board of directors, we spoke to Joe and Profiled him and his work in the industry. 

Joe is a proud Galway man, hailing from the Athenry region of the county.

Here he farms over 150 acres of land and close 100 dairy cows with his family. He is married and lives here with his wife and their three young children.

He took the farm over from his father when he passed on, and since then has moved away from sheep and suckler farming to focus solely on dairying. He manages and performs the daily dairying tasks each day, which he says he loves.

"I love it, I just get a good buss out of it", he said.

History in Agriculture:

Dairy farming aside, Joe has had a very busy career in the Agriculture industry in his young years. He is a former Mart manager of his local Athenry mart, where he also served as chairman. He then went on, after previously being a long standing member, to become the President of Macra for a period of two years (1995-1997).

If that weren't enough on his plate, he also served as the chairman of the sheep shearers association, whilst also working as a journalist reporting on the beef and sheep sectors. Now he has taken a place on the FBD board of directors on behalf of the IFA.

"Last Year the IFA National Council proposed and accepted proposal for me to take the IFA's seat on the FBD board. They didn't want the IFA to lose it", said Joe.

When questioned whether he had always sought a career in agriculture, Joe replied "absolutely".

"I have never really done anything else but farming or in agriculture. Everything I have done inside and outside of the farm gate has involved agriculture. I love it, I get a real buzz out of it", Joe stated.

New Role:

Speaking of his plans for his new role on the board, Joe spoke of all he wishes to achieve during his time in the new position. He spoke of his desire to work with the board to ensure FBD remains profitable, while also offering a solid competitive service to it's members, of which he says many are farmers.

Asked what he would bring to the new role Joe responded, "I will bring the knowledge of what farmers are saying on the ground and the concerns they may have".

He mentioned that every member will bring something different, but says he attends a lot of meetings where he receives queries on prices, increases and cover people have.

"I will bring those messages back to the board and see if improvements need to be made to service our members better", he said.

Before adding, "Nobody on the board is meeting as many with premiums as I am" said Joe.

Upcoming work:

As mentioned above, Joe has a very busy schedule indeed, which is why he turned down the seat on the board last year. His plans for the upcoming years signify a man who is only going to get busier. He says, "there is a lot left to be achieved with the IFA". Before adding that he would one day like to look back and be able to say that farmers are now in a better place.

He also said he and the IFA are focusing on CAP 2020, which he hopes is favourable towards farmers and is funded adequately going forward.

"I also hope to ensure that all farmers, many members and core customers of FBD, are getting the fully competitive service they deserve", he said.

Main issues:

Joe also took time to point out the main issues, where his focus is going to lie over the coming years. He said the main focus will be on commodity prices, pointing to the recent pressure on beef prices.

"Beef factories, with no real justification, are trying to put downward pressure on prices", Said Healy.

The IFA will be working hard on this issue he said, as well as ensuring the future of the dairy and sheep sectors so they return to the place they were in the markets. He also mentioned the downward pressure by processors on pig prices, which he says the IFA will be working on also.

He mentioned the IFA's work in gaining an extra €5million for sheep farmers, which he says was an underspend last year. On tillage he said that most of the hard work was done, and all that's left is to ensure that Tillage farmers receive their payment on time and without problems.

"We want to see no hiccups and no delays in payments for Tillage farmers", Joe stated.

Work on a bigger scale:

A lot of work is to be done on a bigger scale Healy said. He touched on subjects such as Brexit and the looming implications it may have, and also mentioned the CAP again as well as the ANC. He mentioned the fact the IFA are actively seeking a €25 million payout for farmers as part of the ANC.

"We are adamant that €25 million must be paid out to farmers this year", he reaffirmed.

He also said the IFA are working to secure a €500 million fund to help lower interest rates for farmers, as he says there is an appetite amongst farmers for money at competitive rates.

Plans for the future:

To finish up we asked Joe of his own personal plans for the future, to which he simply replied "dairy". Joe plans to go back to dairy farming full time at some point in the future.

"I'll be dairying", he said.

When questioned if he ever thought of going forward for minister for Agriculture at some stage, Joe laughed. He replied "No. There is more of a chance of me managing Mayo to the Sam Mc Guire" he said with a chuckle.

Joe Healy is a man on a mission, to try and bring the agriculture industry back to it's golden years. By the sounds of it, he is doing all within his power to make that a reality.

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