Sunday 30 April 2017

All is not well down on the farm and our agri-food sector faces major challenges

Despite all the success of the National Ploughing Championships, there lurks behind this year's jamboree real fears for family farms' finances
Despite all the success of the National Ploughing Championships, there lurks behind this year's jamboree real fears for family farms' finances
Ivan Yates

Ivan Yates

Don't be deceived by the glib handshakes and backslapping from political leaders on their annual gladhanding rural jamboree at Ratheniska. Behind fluttering flags, cooking demos, pink wellies, goodie bags, vintage horse ploughs and celebrity appearances, dark storm clouds gather over Irish agriculture.

The National Ploughing Championships are synonymous with record-breaking success. If you spent a mere two minutes at each stand, it would take you 50 hours to complete the marathon.

It is easily the most successful event of its kind in Europe with 280,000 visitors. The scale of it also sets it apart. It is a testament to Anna May McHugh and her family's lifetime dedication to NPA.

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