As 2021 draws to a close and we all look forward to enjoying the Christmas festivities, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the loyal readers and customers of the Irish Farmers Journal.

We feel incredibly fortunate to have been in a position to continue to work our way through what has been another challenging 12 months.

To all those businesses and individuals that have been impacted by this latest round of restrictions, we offer you our support and for those of you who have recently lost love ones, we offer you our sincere condolences.

From a day-to-day farming perspective, 2021 has been a good year. Commodity prices have, in general, performed well, weather conditions have been largely favourable and we have seen some returning to normality with in-person events and of course farmers returning back around the ring in livestock marts.


However, it has been a more difficult landscape in relation to agriculture policy. The CAP outcome has been one where rather than introduce new funding to support farmers for delivering environmental dividends, it has been a case of slicing up the existing CAP budget.

Farmers will now be expected to wear two CAPs - Common Agricultural Policy and Climate Action Plan - but with only one budget to support them.

As we look ahead to 2022, the finalisation of the CAP and the cementing of the emission reduction targets for agriculture within the current 22% to 30% range will be critical.

As the KPMG report showed, the financial impact within the different ranges on farm incomes amounts to billions of euro.

It will be critical that Government recognises the limitations of existing and new emerging technologies when finalising an emissions reduction target.

Difficult to hear

There is no doubt that some of the commentary in relation to the contribution of agriculture to the environment has been difficult for farmers to hear, but I see glimmers of hope starting to emerge with a growing recognition that Irish farmers can play a positive role in helping feed a rising world population, while reducing the environmental footprint of food production.

In some instances, we will have to refine our farming practices, but adaptation and innovation is at the core of our farming community.

Yes, there will be challenges ahead in 2022, but by working together, informing the policy agenda, with political support and a proper policy framework, by further advancing our credentials as one of the most environmentally efficient food producers in the world, we can take on these challenges and reposition Irish farming in the environmental debate.

Trusted and valued news and analysis

In this regard I want to assure readers of the Irish Farmers Journal that across our print and digital platforms, we will continue to invest in providing you with trusted and valued news, analysis and commentary that helps you navigate the challenges ahead and ensures rigorous analysis of policy developments.

We are incredibly humbled that as we close out on 2021, more and more of you are turning to the Irish Farmers Journal for trusted and unique content, with our weekly print readership now having reached a new record of over 320,000.

We wish all of our readers a very happy and safe Christmas and if you have any feedback for us, please email me at

Justin McCarthy

Editor and CEO,

The Irish Farmers Journal.