Saoirse McHugh: The time is right for an agricultural revolution in Ireland


Well-known member
Nov 30, 2014
i thought Brexit was going to destroy the beef industry?
I don't think people are going to stop eating after Brexit (if it ever comes - the UK seem scared to do it). Ireland is right beside Britain and has well-established markets there and vice versa. It is like the scare about the milk coming across the border. The demand will continue but the supply chain may be adjusted.

It suits the farming industry to howl disaster - with their hands out for more compensation.

Lumpy Talbot

Well-known member
Jun 30, 2015
There has never been a good year in farming. Farmers will tell you straight. Heroes they are. Heroes.

Blindly plugging away generation after generation in the hope of a profitable year some time... :)


Well-known member
Oct 16, 2012

Is there any appetite amongst Irish farmers for such a revolution?

The first question for a farm enterprise is always "will it pay?"

If the greens can come up with a mega-buyer or 2 for, say, irish watercress, at so much a tonne, people would look at it. If you want radical change, you have to say how it will happen. It's not enough to say "I don't like that", or worse "I've been told to say that we don't like that".

A lot of the problem 50-100 years ago was guys with little new cop-on ending up doing dog and stick farming because the climate was too bad for crops. So the next gen was stuck in beef or sheep, with sheds to match, much larger sheds than they usually needed.

Farmers are canny spenders and most have extra jobs. The guy who fattens a few stores on his (free) grass is much less of a polluter than if he was a grower, using machinery to plough, till, sow, spray, fertilise and harvest.

The warming of the world will help us grow more different species.

The debate over hedgecutting is a laugh, as hedges became common with the enclosures acts, where public land was basically stolen by the landlords. Most hedges are 200-250 years old.

A lot of farms could do better by processing their produce and having a label - apples don't sell well but apple sauce does.

Lastly she says -

"Without any fundamental change in power relationships we are destined to arrive at the same problems over and over again.

For hundreds of years our connection with the land has been under attack and now with the converging crises of climate breakdown, biodiversity loss and the failure of the global market to protect our farmers and provide for everybody we must regain power and control if we are to create an agricultural system that is to survive."

No acushla, we took those centuries getting ownership of the land, and we're not going to give it up. Farmers need to look at that global market on line, and sell what they grow where it pays best.

We will always feed ourselves, somehow, and your average small farmer doesn't want any new Big Bro "regain(ing) power and control".

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