Darragh McCullough: Heaven and earth moved for dairy men while other sectors struggle on incomes lower than average industrial wage
You've got to take your hat off to the dairy lobby. Every time they squeak about milk price or on-farm problems, heaven and earth is moved to facilitate them.
Polticians convene task forces, Brussels rolls out intervention schemes and farm organisations churn out press releases predicting the end of rural Ireland if something isn't done.
The latest initiative is a scheme designed to address the '6,000' job vacancies on dairy farms, which incidently are set to rake in average profits of €80,000 in 2017.
Meanwhile, pretty much every other farm sector has to be content with average incomes lower than the average industrial wage.
To be fair, first impressions of the scheme may be misleading.
Despite being pitched as a plan to marshal thousands from the dole queues to give dairy farmers a subsidised dig out during the calving season, it turns out this is not the case.
As I understand it, a number of key stakeholders, including Teagasc, Farm Relief Services, the farm organisations, and the Department of Social Protection got together under the guidance of the Southeast Regional Skills Forum to see what could be done about the growing labour shortage in a rapidly expanding dairy sector.
The three groups that they decided to target were drystock farmers, women and 'jobseekers' (that's people on the dole to you and me).