Losing Carlow's key adviser on farm succession is major blow
Farming is about more than cows, crops and cross-compliance. There's also the human side. The worries, hopes, family -- even the isolation that comes with living on and farming the land.
Things can suddenly, and awfully, go wrong, as we saw last week with the tragedy in Bagenalstown. Problems can also evolve over time from a lack of planning or from sheer bad luck.
At our county IFA executive meeting last week, retiring county chairman John Brennan spoke of a person who had a real feel for farm issues.
That person was John Wallis, of the Carlow County Development Partnership.
A high proportion of farming issues concern finance. At the IFA meeting, a spokesman said that some farmers -- already in trouble with their banks -- were now being hit further with penal interest rates of 16pc a year.
IFA South Leinster vice-president Ger Bergin urged such farmers to contact the IFA for assistance before the banks go to the courts.
"If the banks get a court order, then it is too late for us to do anything," Mr Bergin warned.
In spite of the general lift in farming, Mr Wallis's on-the-ground discovery is one of increasing financial hardship, especially on smaller farms where off-farm income has disappeared.