'Renting will never give me the reward I want from farming'- MEP hopeful plans to sell cows next year
North Cork dairy farmer and MEP hopeful Jason Fitzgerald has said that he is leaving farming in January and selling his 73 cow dairy herd as he says farming on designated land means he will never be able to farm the way he wants to.
Jason, who is founder of the Irish Farmers with Designated lands group and teaches Economics part-time at UCC, while balancing a job with Munster AI told FarmIreland that he plans to sell his dairy herd that he rears on a rented farm in Kanturk in January.
“In 2009 I lost my job in construction and began a job with Munster AI but I always wanted to go in to dairying and in 2011 I rented my first farm in Kilbrin with the hope of being able to sell land at my home place in Ballydesmond and then buy the farm in Kilbrin but this didn’t work out,” he said.
“ I couldn’t sell the land in Ballydesmond because it is designated it is worthless. Farmers don’t want to buy that land.
“I’m now renting a farm in Kilbrin but I plan to sell my cows next year because it’s all proving too difficult. Renting will never give me the reward I want from farming and farming in Ballydesmond means I’ll never be able to farm the way I want to either. I’ve three young daughters to think of and had to face the reality.”
Mr Fitzgerald says income volatility of dairying and the harsh weather conditions experienced over the last year was another factor as to why he plans to leave the sector.
“I never want to see a spring like last spring again. It was a dark time for farmers. On top of the weather I was completing my Masters in Economics at UCC. I was milking cows in the morning and evening and working for Munster AI and then I was studying until 2 in the morning and up again at six” he said.
Mr Fitzgerald is seeking a nomination to run as an MEP for Fianna Fail and says if he was successful he will be campaigning for an income volatility scheme to be introduced to help farmers.