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Independent.ie

Sunday 22 July 2018

‘Active farmers need a fair share of CAP money’

Anthony Leddy with his children Joshua, Jessica & Aiden on their farm in Milltown, Co. Cavan. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Anthony Leddy with his children Joshua, Jessica & Aiden on their farm in Milltown, Co. Cavan. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

Ken Whelan

Anthony Leddy intends to press on with his plans to increase his herd size on his dairy farm in Co Cavan despite the uncertainty being created in the region by the Brexit negotiations.

Anthony is ideally placed to comment on the issue as his farm at Milltown near Belturbet in the drumlin countryside is within shouting distance of Co Fermanagh.

He is also a farmer director of the Lakeland Dairies Co-op whose catchment area and plants straddles the border.

He is confident that Lakelands is well placed to meet the Brexit challenges ahead but he says it’s vital that a ‘soft border’ emerges at the end of the prolonged  process.

It’s a comment you would expect from a Lakelands’ director but he insists that his interest on the board is to fight for his farming electors.

Farmer activism is in Anthony’s pedigree. He served for seven years as the IFA’s dairy committee chairman.

Anthony Leddy on his farm in Milltown, Co. Cavan.
Anthony Leddy on his farm in Milltown, Co. Cavan.

The 49-year-old runs a 160-strong mixed herd of Jersey crosses, pedigree Holsteins and Norwegian Reds on his 58-hectare farm of mainly heavy ground outside Belturbet. He has been an elected farmer director on the co-op for

the past four years.

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Asked if he is happy with the current milk price of 31.78c/l being offered by Lakelands, he explains: “It’s a good price and the outlook for the rest of the year suggests an improvement in prices.

“Butter is helping, as is the general milk supply situation in Europe, but skimmed milk is a little weak.”

Anthony had intended to be a farmer since he was knee high and took over the home place from his late father Anthony Snr – a former president of the ICMSA – 20 years ago having completed his agricultural studies at Mountbellew College in Co Galway.

He is helped on the farm by his brother John and three part-time workers.

Anthony is married to Joanne, a South African physiotherapist whom he met in Donegal 15 years ago; they have three children: Aiden (8), Joshua (7) and Jessica( 5).

“Joshua has Down’s Syndrome and we as a family spend a lot of time fund-raising for the Down Syndrome Association throughout Co Cavan,” he says.

Anthony is enthused by the interest being shown by the children in the farm and is confident that the Leddy farming tenure in Belturbet will go into a fourth generation.

Clearly not a man who likes to put his feet up, Anthony also carries out some contracting work in the region – “silage, slurry and providing a zero grazing service” – and his main off-farm interest is training the under-9s at the local GAA club.

He has been pondering the upcoming CAP negotiations and his advice to Minister Michael Creed is clear cut: “It’s all about farmers and getting a fair share of the CAP money so that the active farmers can get a good return for all the hard work they do.”

More should follow from the farming activist as these CAP negotiations get into their stride.

Indo Farming

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