With no local government in Northern Ireland since Stormont collapsed in early 2017, and continued wrangling over marriage equality and the Irish language, it’s hard to be optimistic about the latest round of talks among political parties.
Step forward Dr Denis McMahon, the head man at the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). With the main party leaders sitting under his nose at a breakfast event at last week’s Balmoral Show, he praised the latest talks initiative, and called for a round of applause from the agri-food industry leaders present.
Once the eyebrows got lowered, most joined in, but it wasn’t exactly an effervescent response.
There are two investigations ongoing into the fist fight started by a handful of visibly inebriated lads in the bar tent at Balmoral Show on Friday evening.
The first investigation is by the police into assault, and the second by organisers Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS), who have promised “appropriate action”. As usual nowadays, the ugly scene was filmed and quickly shared on social media, which should help the PSNI deal with the clearly identifiable participants. While the video went viral, an RUAS spokesperson assured that no one was seriously injured and said: “It is sad that a few people resorted to this behaviour when tens of thousands of people enjoyed a fun family day out.”
It’s hard to disagree with that.
Gigginstown backs Angus bulls
While Michael O’Leary has begun to wind down his Gigginstown racing operation, farmers will be interested to hear that he has no plans for a similar end to his beef farming enterprise. I’m assured that the Ryanair boss will be hosting his annual Angus bull sale in 2020.
Time will tell if the equine exodus means that the pedigree bulls will have more room to roam on the Westmeath farm or if they will be joined by another enterprise.
All set for Croom Tractor run
Vintage, new and slightly less than new tractors have all been invited to the Croom tractor run, in aid of the Jack and Jill Foundation. Last year the group raised over €10,000, and the cross-country route through rivers and farms in Co Limerick is always a major draw for farmers. With the promise of a breakfast roll to start and a bacon dinner afterwards, The Dealer might just be tempted to bring his own set of wheels to Buttercup Farm, Co Limerick at 12pm on Sunday.
Croom tractor run will host its tenth annual event this year.
Location, location, location for GAA players
Some of you might have heard that a farmer in rural France enrolled 50 of his ewes in his local primary school in a bid to boost numbers and prevent its closure.
Among the new pupils were Baa-bete, Dolly and Shaun.
While not a recommendation, The Dealer hears that some rural GAA clubs are so desperate to retain young players they’ve cracked down on transfers to bigger clubs with better facilities. Some bigger clubs now won’t accept players from smaller clubs unless they have proof of address, leading to some quiet address forgeries. The Dealer even knows of one child who has “moved in” with his brother in a town.
No GAA club has resorted to French tactics yet though.
All the single ladies ... love Kerry Co-op
The Kerry Co-op shareholders meeting last week drew a massive crowd to the Ballyroe Heights Hotel outside Tralee.
A German guest was wondering what all the commotion was, what with cars parked for half a mile in every direction. She asked a few stragglers what was happening upstairs, and was told it was a farmer co-op meeting to discuss what to do about the shareholding in the company. “Are these farmers rich?” she enquired. “Missus, there’s about a billion in shares in that room,” came the reply. “It’s not Mrs, it’s Miss,” she said in return, “and I think I might go for a drink in the bar later on.” Maybe one shareholder got an early dividend!
I see the managing director of fertiliser importer Nitrofert Micheál Brennan is to join Devenish Nutrition. He will take up a business development role and join his brother Owen Brennan, executive chair at the company. Devenish wants to boost turnover to over £300m by 2021, and add 100 jobs to its current 450.
The Dealer is happy to clarify that Compassion in World Farming played no role in a protest at the Beef Summit two weeks ago. It was in fact Direct Action Everywhere that interrupted the meeting with a protest.