The IFA presidential election moves up a gear this week as the two candidates embark on a series of 13 head-to-head debates this week.
Following last night's debate in Limerick, Ger Bergin and Eddie Downey will tour a series of venues over the coming weeks, with meetings in Tralee tomorrow and Dungarvan on Friday.
Next week, the candidates will be in Thurles on Wednesday and Kilkenny on Thursday, followed by Athenry, Tullamore, Enniscorthy, Castlebar, Carrick-on-Shannon and Cootehill in November.
All meetings start at 8.30pm and will also include presentations by the candidates for deputy president.
Meanwhile, speculation is mounting that IFA president John Bryan could be head-hunted by Fine Gael to contest the European election next May in the Ireland South constituency.
While an IFA spokesman discounted the rumours and insisted Mr Bryan's focus remained on leading the farm organisation, it has been suggested in political circles that low level unofficial contacts have already taken place between Mr Bryan and Fine Gael. The possibility of Mr Bryan running could hinge on whether or not sitting Fianna Fáil MEP, and fellow Kilkenny native, Liam Aylward decides to run again. Mr Bryan will complete four years as IFA president in January.
Farming leaders are also gearing up for local elections, with former ICMSA president Jackie Cahill securing a nomination from Fianna Fáil (FF) to contest a seat on Tipperary County Council in the Thurles-Templemore district. The local elections take place next May. The Thurles dairy farmer is currently chairman of the National Dairy Council. He will be up against sitting FF councillors Michael Smith, John Hogan and Seamus Hanafin.