Sherlock: I needed to step back from 24/7 role on farming frontline
Former ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock, who stepped down from the role last week, said he needed a break from a position which was taking over his life.
Mr Sherlock (pictured) who farms in Feohanagh, Co Limerick, had been in the position for three years and told the Farming Independent that he wants to focus on his own farm and family as the post regulary involved him taking calls from distressed farmers in the middle of the night.
"I wanted a break from the seven days of work on top of my own farming," he explained. "If a stranger rings you at 2am in the morning you know that they're not in the right mind.
"It is heavy going when someone calls you with mental health problems or debt issues. It can be hard to shake it off and not carry it with you and make it your own problem but I hope farmers keep calling me as my door is always open.
"It did take over my life but life goes on with or without farmer organisations."
Mr Sherlock stressed that he left the ICSA on good terms but said new blood is needed and that recruitment of young members is a challenge all farm organisations are facing.
"I learned a lot," he said. "Like any team there were disagreements but they were always worked through and everyone had their say.
"We need young people and fresh thinking. I used to be at meetings and you would rarely see someone in their 20s or 30s at the meeting. They are the lifeblood of farming.