At the beginning of November, ration prices hit €273/t, higher than 2014 figures.

The rural crime issue rumbled on at the launch of Operation Thor, the Government’s multi-strand answer to crime. In the same week, we reported on a farmer and his family in Co Westmeath who were victims of an alleged arson attack.

Meanwhile, farm transport was hit by new tractor tachograph legislation.

Although thousands of farmers were awaiting payments, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney defended his Department’s record on issuing payments.

The free clinics organised by the Irish Farmers Journal and its partners as part of the Movember campaign found a new trend of health-conscious farmers.

The IFA pay row started to heat up, with calls for the executive council to be fully informed of executive pay levels. The dispute burst to the forefront of Irish headlines when the salary of the former general secretary Pat Smith was revealed by the Irish Farmers Journal.

Emergency meetings ensued in counties all around the country. Subsequent revelations and resignations followed. The IFA vowed to fight Pat Smith’s severance package. But the full story was not revealed until the Con Lucey review came out in December.

Green Cert confusion

It also emerged in November that the educational requirements for entry to the Young Farmer and National Reserve schemes had been changed, leading to confusion for agricultural colleges and worries for students. Meanwhile, Teagasc got a budget increase to create 75 new jobs.

Tipperary farmer Bill Carroll resigned from the board of Glanbia following months of controversy.

European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan pledged that farmers would face fewer inspections in 2016.

On the international scene, trade deals between the US and Pacific countries and discussions with Europe dominated the news. The almost forgotten discussions between Europe and South America’s Mercosur countries began to pick up momentum .

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2015: full year in review