The starting gun is about to be fired for the next Macra na Feirme election, I see. While much of the gossip at recent Macra events has been about who is lining up for president, it is the vice-presidents that are the first out of the blocks.
At least two candidates are running for the position of Leinster vice-president. Veronica Wheatley from the East Laois club announced her candidacy this week. Termonfeckin member Eamon Briscoe has confirmed that he will also be contesting the race. Both are well known for their debating skills.
However, The Dealer hears there may be another candidate from Laois considering the vice-presidential role.
In the northwest, Castlebar member Shane Quigley will throw his name in for vice-president of that region; he is the only confirmed candidate so far.
In Munster, Donoughmore man Sean Wallace has made no secret of his intentions to run for vice-president there.
The election for national officers usually takes place in April, a month ahead of the Macra AGM in May.
The Macra leadership awards are on the 27 November and I’ll be keeping an interested eye out for emerging candidates in all the races after that.
UK chains buying out more vets
Livestock farmers are going to see more changes at their local vet. The big UK veterinary chain CVS continues to purchase practices in Northern Ireland and the Republic. It recently acquired the mixed animal practice Campsie Veterinary Centre, outside Omagh. It also bought Spires Veterinary Clinic in Omagh and St Elmo Veterinary Clinic in Derry.
It has now acquired a second practice in the Republic: the large Gilabbey Veterinary Hospital in Cork, a small-animal business. This is on top of the well-known Troytown Greyabbey equine business in Co Kildare, in which CVS invested last August.
The Dealer is told that CVS and the other major UK chain, IVC, are in negotiations with 20 vet practices in the Republic, including some large-animal practices, and have approached or been approached by another 60. It is offering seven or eight times profits for the right business.
Meanwhile, there is no sign of white smoke from the Veterinary Council of Ireland on the legalities of who can own a practice.
It’s the economists, stupid
The Dealer got an insight into the agricultural thinking of the urban literati at the Kilkenomics Festival, which brilliantly put economists and comedians on stage together last weekend in Kilkenny.
During the finale show titled Reasons to be Cheerful, a lone farmer in the audience asked the panel for their thoughts on the future of agriculture.
Economist and broadcaster David McWilliams said the Dutch and Danish intensive, export-focused model was the way forward for the industry.
“If the Dutch lived in Ireland they’d feed the world, but if the Irish lived in Holland, we’d drown,” he joked, suggesting we’re not there yet.
Peter Antonioni from University College London recommended planting trees.
Hosting the show, comedian Des Bishop offered an easier option: “Write ‘organic’ on everything you already produce and everyone in this room will pay three times the price for it,” he said.
Out of the oven and into plastics
I hear that Paul Meade, who was head of investor relations with Aryzta, has left the embattled baker to join IPL, formerly One51, which also has its roots in IAWS. An agricultural science graduate who was once agribusiness editor in this house before moving to NCB Stockbrokers, Meade will oversee investor and media relations at the plastics company, which recently floated on the Toronto stock exchange.
He may have his work cut out given the fall in IPL’s share price – down 25% since the float.
Others on the move include Vanessa Woods, former chief executive of Agri Aware and more recently in communications with Devenish, who has launched a new communications business promoting science.
Dr. Vanessa Woods. \ Jeff Harvey/HR Photo
Glanbia getting its kicks with clicks
With online retail becoming more and more prevalent, it is interesting to see Glanbia Connect, the Glanbia farmer website, has won Website of the Year at the Retail Excellence Awards. It fought off 70 other retailers including the likes of home décor chain Harry Corry to win. With Black Friday around the corner, Irish consumers are spending over €20m every day online.
Fake moos as 'John Angusson' spreads muck on the interweb
We’ve all heard of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, and it appears a member of the Irish Angus Cattle Society has taken inspiration from WikiLeaks and has used the internet to air some grievances.
Using an alias on Facebook, “John Angusson” made some serious allegations against committee members and the running of the society.
The Facebook account has since been deleted, but it might give a few other pedigree souls some notions.
Minister for Health and Older People Jim Daly said he was feeling “very shaky” after falling into a swimming pool at a leisure centre opening in Cork last week. Apparently someone pretended to push the minister into the pool – resulting in an actual push.
Given the recent announcement of further delays to the nursing home Fair Deal Scheme, which falls under Minister Daly’s remit, The Dealer can’t help but wonder if it was a literal push to get moving.