Macra speakers pull no punches
It is refreshing to report on a conference where you get a bit of cut and thrust from a panel of speakers.
Too often a false respect for position and an equally false politeness combine to stifle any meaningful debate.
This was certainly not the case at Macra na Feirme's national conference which took place in Carlow last Saturday.
That's not to say that the panel tore strips out of one another – they didn't do that – but there was a lively exchange of ideas and opinions which attracted some thoughtful comments and views from the floor.
Indeed, the tone for the conference was set at the very start by Ulster Bank's Ann-Marie Butler who told of a meeting she had with a pig farmer a few months ago.
The man had applied for a loan to upgrade his pig housing facilities and asked Ms Butler what the full amount would set him back in annual payments.
The bank official gave him the figure, which she put at around €100,000. However, she admitted to being taken aback by what the farmer did next; he immediately converted it into c/kg based on the unit's throughput and could then immediately work out whether the loan would be a runner or not.