The Irish Farmers Journal is published by The Agricultural Trust (which is a Company Limited by Guarantee). Its only mandate is to provide the best possible technical support, market information and news to the agricultural sector. The company doesn’t have a share capital. No dividends are paid and the directors don’t receive remuneration for fulfilling their role as directors.
All profits are invested in meeting the Trust’s objectives - to enhance the competitiveness of Irish farming and the well-being of those engaged in the sector.
Since its establishment in 1948, the Irish Farmers Journal has been working with Irish farmers and the agricultural industry, to encourage and sustain a prosperous farm economy in Ireland. In 1951, John Mooney, a Meath farmer, bought the Irish Farmers Journal out of bankruptcy. He brought the late Paddy O’Keeffe in as Editor. John was on the Council of Macra na Feirme which had started the Irish Farmers Journal in 1948.
In the early ‘50’s there were a multitude of farmers’ organisations which John saw as weakening farmers’ bargaining power with processors and government. He had a vision of a strong Irish farming newspaper bringing up-to-date, unbiased market information, news and uniquely, the best information on agricultural research and technology to improve Irish farm output, efficiency and incomes.
The Irish Farmers Journal saw one of its objectives achieved with the establishment of the then National Farmers’ Association (now IFA) in 1957.
The Irish Farmers Journal also campaigned for the establishment of the Agricultural Research Institute to develop new areas of knowledge and systems to improve the technical performance of Irish farming in the difficult 1950s. In 1963, after a decade of growing circulation and credibility with all earnings being ploughed back into improving the paper, John Mooney was approached by Lord Thompson, the owner of the London Times to know if he would sell the Irish Farmers Journal. Lord Thompson intended the Journal to be the foundation of an Irish newspaper operation.
John Mooney then made the extraordinary decision to give the newspaper into a trust – totally free of charge. He continued as unpaid chairman and, in the new trust deed drawn up, the President of the IFA was to be an ex-officio member of the Board, for which like other board members, he was to receive no remuneration as a director. The appointment of the IFA President was an acknowledgement that both organisations had the similar aims of improving Irish farming incomes and living standards.
This essential ethos of the ‘Journal’ continues. As well as the Stephen Cullinane scholarships for young farmers, the Irish Farmers Journal built the first slatted house for beef cattle in the country at the Grange research centre. Paddy O’Keeffe chartered a plane to New Zealand to show a group of Irish dairy farmers what was possible in producing milk from grass. Specialists from Europe were brought over to bring the concept of winter cereals to Ireland as well as backing the concept of livestock auctions instead of fairs.
In more recent times, the Irish Farmers Journal has, in association with Teagasc and the meat processing industry, initiated the BETTER Beef Farm project which has dramatically transformed the productivity and profitability of the participating suckler farms. With the abolition of quotas it spearheaded the establishment of the Greenfield dairy farm in Kilkenny to establish what was technically and financially possible in the new quota-free area, while on the dry stock side, a commercial suckler and sheep farm was established in Co Offaly to demonstrate best practice and to quantify the costs and returns when no single farm payment was available.
The company structure allows the Irish Farmers Journal the unique opportunity to confirm its commitment to its readers by supporting agricultural development projects each year. Irish Farmers Journal surplus funds are always destined for re-investment into science-based information support for Irish farming.
Knowledge provides the base for all progress. The Irish Farmers Journal continues to provide the focus for open debate on agricultural development as the best source of information for the Irish agricultural industry and the families dependent on it.
The Irish Farmers Journal’s commitment to advancing Irish farming families’ well-being continues.
Audience figures for the Irish Farmers Journal