Positive vibes on dairying
It's not all gloom and doom in the milk business as our deputy editor discovered in Cork last week
Over 600 farmers gathered in Cork last week for the annual two day Positive Farmers conference. One of the aims of the event is to highlight the opportunities for ambitious young people in the dairy industry.
A great example of that was Colm O'Sullivan, who is determined to build a full-time career for himself in dairy farming, despite coming from a 1ac small-holding in north Cork.
The 28-year-old (pictured below) always had an interest in agriculture, but it took a couple of wrong turns before he realised that being landless was not a barrier to one day owning his own commercial farm.
"From an early age I was generally found chasing tractors around the countryside on my bicycle," he told delegates at the Positive Farmers conference.
"I was mad about machinery and bought a clapped-out Massey Ferguson tractor for £450 with my communion money. Thankfully it never started, and cured me of my heavy-metal disease.
"After my Leaving Cert, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I chose agriculture in Kildalton, by chickened out at the last moment as I felt there wouldn't be a place for someone without land to fall back to.
"So I started a degree in construction. Two years into it, the boom went bust, and I came to the realisation that I was totally uninspired. I had no idea what direction I wanted to go, and was lacking in confidence at this stage.
"But I was lucky in a way, because I started helping on a neighbour's suckler farm, and discovered that I had a huge passion for working the land, especially livestock.