'We had a positive meeting with the Commissioner'
My week: Thomas Duffy
Ned Duffy has been absent on leave at the family's 130 acre dairy farm beside Maghera, Co Cavan having finally decided to get something done with his dodgy knee.
He injured his knee when dismounting from his tractor and like many farmers in Ireland he vowed to get it checked "next week" - but that "next week" was two years ago.
Ned is in fine form after recent treatment in the Sports Surgery Clinic in Santry but it will be another six weeks before he is running around the farm so he asks me to have the chin wag with his son, Thomas, who is running the enterprise at the moment.
Thomas, a masters graduate from the UCD School of Agriculture and a part-time GLAS adviser, is just back from Brussels where he took part in a Macra delegation meeting the EU Commission and Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan, to discuss young farmer issues.
The 25-year-old says there may be some developments shortly on the Old Young Farmers basic payment problems with suggestions that the discrimination against the 3,000 or so Irish farmers affected by the basic payment anomalies may be addressed under the TAMS scheme.
"We had a positive meeting with the commissioner and I'd say something will be done for the old young farmers in TAMS. The commission is also looking at the five year rule and the definitions of a young farmer and an active farmer within the CAP rules and they may be more flexible under Pillar 2 of TAMS," Thomas reveals.
Things are flying on the farm at the moment with the second cut of silage nearly wrapped up and another top up of nitrogen being applied for a third cut in the autumn. "It has bulked up well and is high quality," Thomas says.
The Duffys run the "Virginia herd" - a mostly pedigree Holstein herd with some Jerseys and Norwegian Reds in the mix.