On 7 March last, Macra was delighted to co-host an event titled ‘Resilient Industry: Adapting to change’.

There are several things that I want to say about the event, firstly it was brilliant to work with Niamh and her team in ASA to put together this event to mark International Women’s Day.

We marked it with an event that raised a considerable amount for Breast Cancer Ireland, as all proceeds went to this worthwhile charity.

Macra and ASA are unusual organisations in Irish agriculture, as they are both led by women; thankfully we are no longer the outliers in the industry with the election of Alice Doyle as the deputy president of the IFA last December.

This event and indeed many more events are only possible through the support of many, from those who arrange the many logistical aspects of the event, to those who support us, both members of ASA and Macra as well as people who are not members of either but equally welcome, to the benefactor of Irish agriculture: the FBD Trust. Without the help of Michael and Mary, events such as these would not come to pass, we would be a poorer industry.


Our discussions last Thursday centred on two panels, the first was on ‘Resilient Women in our Industry’ with the second on ‘Agri Industry Ability to adapt to Change’. Our industry, despite what you may hear or see in some media outlets is one that is full of powerful people, who can and do make changes when needed; the image of a farmer just saying no for the sake of it is a lazy stereotype that has no place in today’s Ireland.

We are seeing resilience on a daily basis when we look to our aging farming population, many of whom wish to retire with a degree of dignity, do not have the opportunity to retire, so they keep going and will keep going. We see our industry which has had very ambitious targets set for itself in relation to greenhouse gases, making the changes that are required as evidenced by the recently reported drop in emissions.

Immense contribution

I couldn’t write this piece without acknowledging the immense contribution of women to our industry over the last hundred years and longer.

Times are changing and the contribution is ever increasing, I have heard enough horror stories to know that all is not perfect, but we are on our way and will not stop. I want to ask the reader to slow down and just to think about the contribution of women to Irish agriculture. We don’t expect a bunch of flowers for our contribution, all we want is an acknowledgement.