The great and the good of the farming community gathered at the Convention Centre in Dublin's docklands last week to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the National Farmers Association (NFA), the precursor to the IFA.
That inaugural meeting was held in the Four Seasons Ballroom, Harcourt Street, Dublin on January 6, 1955 and was called by Juan Greene, the first president of the NFA. It was fitting, therefore, that among the special guests last week was his widow Juliet Greene.
Interestingly, in her interview on stage with RTE's Mary Kennedy, Mrs Greene said that her abiding memory of the formation of the NFA was that her husband was always gone.
This was a line taken up by other family members of the 13 past presidents, confirming the time, sacrifice and commitment farm leaders gave to the organisation. The tone for the event was set by EU Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan, when he described the IFA as one of the pillars of Irish society.
This view was echoed by the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, in a speech which celebrated and recognised the importance of the IFA.