At the beginning of December, it became apparent that there was a lot of infighting in the IFA when a number of county executives passed motions of no confidence in the board. We took a closer look at the accounts and found that over €5.3m was collected in levies from farmers in 2014. The IFA received €4.7m, accounting for nearly 90% of all levies collected.

The IFA’s executive council received the Con Lucey report on 15 December and judged it to be a good start to reforming the organisation. However, the fallout meant that the organisation found itself with its third president in just four weeks. It emerged that former IFA president Padraig Walshe received a salary of €175,000, while deputy president at the time Derek Deane received €50,000.

Climate deal in Paris

Meanwhile, one of the most significant events to impact Irish agriculture took place in Paris, where delegates from 196 nations agreed on a global pact to combat climate change, setting a string of obligations from 2020.

Figures presented at the Teagasc Outlook for 2016 conference showed that family farm incomes have fallen by 9% in 2015 and will average approximately €24,000. However, there is a better outlook for next year, when farm incomes are expected to recover by 5%, rising to €25,000.

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney concluded the Nigerian leg of his African trade mission by opening a new factory for Ornua and visiting the Kerry and Guinness facilities.

As revealed on, ABP agreed to acquire a 50% share in Slaney Foods, which controls both Slaney Meats and Irish Country Meats. The move will see ABP grow its share of the national kill from between 22% and 24% to near 30%, with annual throughput at Slaney Foods totalling 85,000 head per annum. The deal is subject to approval by the Competition and Consumer Protection Authority.

Seperately, the Irish Farmers Journal found out that Dunbia, one of the largest meat processors in the UK and Ireland, is up for sale.

The announcement of a flat-rate payment of €1,350 to dairy farmers, later increased to €1,395, with an €800 top-up for young farmers. This has raised the issue of why similar payments were not considered for non-dairy farmers.

Storms Desmond and Frank cause large-scale flooding

The fourth named storm in 2015, storm Desmond, took a heavy toll on farmland and rural communities around the country. Seven-hundred farms were badly affected, while 200 were less badly hit. However, the sentiment that emerged from farmers was frustration at a lack of action from the authorities as flooding becomes a more common occurrence. The same difficulties were repeated with Storm Frank a few days later.

Record grain yields for 2015 were confirmed in the Teagasc Harvest Report.

Producer groups to negotiate price and specifications were tabled to the Beef Forum by Minister Coveney in mid-December.

Meanwhile, it became apparent that 2015 was a difficult year for live exports across all categories of stock, with Irish livestock prices limiting the potential for exporters to operate and return a margin. Live exports of cattle in 2015 are likely to finish in the region of 55,000 head lower than in 2014.

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2015: full year in review