The numbers in the factory returns for the first batch of cattle I sell each fall give a good idea of how successful my marketing year will be.
When I sold my first batch a few weeks ago I was delighted to see the bold scores showing they were well made, averaging just over 3=.
Carcass weights were fine and surprisingly the confirmation grades were pretty good too – in my case it just means I didn’t have too many Ps.
It’s early days though, and while I hope bold notes will hold up, I’m not so confident about notes and weights – after all, we’re talking about “vanity-free” friezes here.
With the increasing possibility of making mistakes and ever-growing bureaucracy, no sector of agriculture is without challenges.
It’s been seven years since former EU Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan assured us that he would simplify the CAP – but look where we are now.
Take the new environmental program ACRES with its co-payment promises. Eager to find out how this could be achieved I took a look at the Agfood website.
I was blown away by the 2,713 words in the explanatory document and the 5,302 words in the overview section. And the specification section was another 32,000 words.
There are over 30 “initials”/acronyms (GLAM, GPC, IACS, ILAs, etc.) liberally scattered throughout the docs, which doesn’t help.
It was a relief like waking from a bad nightmare when my agricultural adviser reminded me that the much-vaunted ACRES was optional and still only in draft form.
Hopefully the ‘greening’ measures in next year’s CAP program will not be quite as complex and my low input grass-cattle system will be deemed sufficiently green.
As European farmers face ongoing environmental cuts, I find it amazing that the EU is trying to restart trade talks with the Mercosur group.
This deal would lead to the import of large quantities of cheap meat from some “environmentally disadvantaged” South American countries – and further loss of income for Irish cattle farmers.
That really got me thinking. Why do farmers always have to be the whipping boy?
For decades, the EU and the government have brainwashed, coerced and intimidated farmers into intensifying their farming operations. The reason? Providing an ample supply of cheap food to EU citizens.
This has directly resulted in our natural environment being so degraded that extremely expensive remedial measures must now be taken.
It is unacceptable for politicians and their policy makers – so-called experts – to step down and blame farmers for their appalling environmental blunders.
It is time for our government and the EU to stand up and admit that they are responsible for the mess we are in.
These people should immediately apologize to farmers and all EU citizens for the environmental damage their deeply flawed agricultural policies have caused to our unique landscape.
Only then can fair and effective remedial measures be created, the costs of which must be borne equally by all citizens, not just by the unjustly defamed agriculture.
John Heney farms in Kilfeackle, Co. Tipperary
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/beef/beef-advice/john-heney-we-farmers-deserve-an-official-apology-not-further-vilification-41970937.html John Heney: We farmers deserve an official apology, not another slander