'I worry about the current indebtedness of young farmers to financial institutions'
Veteran Co Offaly farmer Joe Gaffney has an uncomplicated view of farming, summed up in his pithy observation: "Enjoy life, stay alive and pay the banks".
It's a good attitude if you are a dairy man dealing with the ups and downs of the ever volatile milk price.
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He worries about the current indebtedness of younger farmers to the financial institutions and earnestly advises them not to borrow anything more than they can repay.
After leaving St Peter's school in Wexford in the early 1960s, Joe did a stint in England for a few years with the Hawker Sidley jet manufacturing company and intended to go to Australia before getting the call back to Offaly.
When he took over the 70-acre home farm near Clara it was a mixed enterprise.
"All you could see around here back then was cattle and beet growing," he recalls.
He gradually converted the farm to the dairy enterprise it is today.
Joe farms in a partnership with his son Jim (41), running a herd of 100-plus British Friesians and Holstein crosses.