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My Week: John Duignan
It's been a hectic a time of the year for John Duignan. Between lambing, calving and general maintenance on his 60ac home farm at Geevagh, Co Sligo, he has been flat out; and the working schedule shows no signs of slowing.
"I had a busy day today but the weather was good and that's important," the 43-year-old explained.
"We had two new lambs and two sucklers arrived on the farm today, and in between times I managed to get a bit of fencing done."
He reckons this work rate will continue until after Easter at the very least.
John runs the home farm, along with an additional 100ac of leased land in the locality and shares commonage at nearby Carrin Hill with 12 neighbouring farmers. He describes his farm as "good green land in the valley and dauby land on the hill."
John runs a drystock enterprise and buys and sells stock through the marts at Dowra, Ballymote and Mohill. He currently runs 150 hoggets, 25 ewes and 21 Shorthorn cows, from which he keeps the heifer calves for breeding. "I have been farming since I was four years old when I used to attend the marts with my father.
"I only did my Green Cert in Sligo in 2007, and as luck would have it, they cut the Installation Aid Scheme for young farmers in half just before I achieved the cert."
Government agri schemes are not John's favourite topic of conversation. He is completely underwhelmed by the way the Department of Agriculture is currently administering the GLAS scheme. "We are still waiting for the GLAS payments promised since Christmas, and if you take it that all the farmers on the Carrin Hill commonage are due €5,000 and do the sums and multiply by the number of local farmers affected, that's an awful amount of money not coming into the local economy," he points out.