Farm Ireland

Sunday 23 October 2016

Ryanair flies to the IFA's my dreams

Ann Fitzgerald

Published 06/01/2016 | 02:30

Michael O'Leary, chief executive officer of Ryanair
Michael O'Leary, chief executive officer of Ryanair

Last week, I had a dream.

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First up, the IFA gets its new president. It's not Tim O'Leary, Derek Deane, Henry Burns, Tim Cullinan, Nigel Renaghan, Flor McCarthy or even Joe Healy of this parish; but rather Michael O'Leary who steps aside from Ryanair.

I know the outspoken one's name always gets trotted out anytime any organisation or even the country needs a shot of redemption but surely this would be right up his alley?

He has the requisite drive and natural abrasive manner, a proven track record in turning around a floundering behemoth and has no previous dealings with Bluebell. And, yes, he is a farmer; Angus cattle and thoroughbred horses do count.

Maybe he could dip into the corporate world when it comes to picking out a new general secretary, although he may be tempted to snap them up for himself.

Among O'Leary's first tasks will be successes in exporting Irish agricultural products, beef into the US, milk to Asia and fresh air to China.

On the issue of emissions, O'Leary may be on trickier ground (don't mention the planes) as he'll be hearing plenty on the contribution of Irish agriculture to climate change.

Fortunately, there is good news on that front as scientists come up with a device to capture the substance produced when ruminants fart, a gas-tight version of horse nappies.

I bet you think I'm now going to suggest they could do something similar for the front end.

Not at all, that would just be plain silly. Sure, they would all just suffocate.

But, never fear, ICBF is here.

On top of having work lined up for the next five years with the beef genomics scheme, they discover that its possible to breed animals with very different characteristics.

So farmers can selectively avoid animals which belch AND are resistant to TB, the scourge of Irish agriculture for over 50 years.

Unfortunately for vets, the eradication of TB cuts off a major source of income, TB testing.

But now that farming is finally generating a decent income, they get to move away from fire brigade work towards the health prevention work they hoped to be doing when they left vet college.

Another issue not unconnected to climate change is the ongoing winter flooding along the Shannon.

Even in my dream I wasn't able to come up with a solution that might satisfy all parties involved.

However, even one of the first babes of the New Year would know that its very hard to see meaningful progress being made until management of the river is taken on by a single agency.

New work also comes up with bobby calves. Rather than being seen as a waste-product of the ever-expanding dairy sector, they become the pet of choice among the chattering classes.

So the cattle are happier too!


With all this extra money in the air, it means a solution is found to one of the trickiest issues around, the construction of greenways.

So on lands being farmed commercially or where there are other deep-seated problems, flyovers are erected.

Everybody is happy. Farmers who don't want greenways avoid having their land split, tourists flock in and are delighted with the views so there is a boom in agri-tourism.

Elsewhere, the notorious Conor McGregor takes a break from cage fighting and teams up with heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury to set up a flying vigilante team, which drastically reduces rural crime.

On the back of these successes, IFA members who have been gutted by recent financial revelations, return to the organisation, which is restored as a powerful voice negotiating on behalf of farmers.

Cuckoo. For a moment, I think I am hearing a corncrake.

Cuckoo, Cuckoo.

Then I realise its my alarm clock. The dream ends.

But, perhaps in defiance of the signs, my hope for the future endures.

I wish everyone a safe and joyous 2016.

Indo Farming


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