I see that Killegland Farm in Ashbourne, Co Meath, is sold. Many readers will remember that it was the farm of the late John Mooney, the key figure in setting up the Irish Farmers Journal as the independent newspaper to defend and promote the interests of Irish farmers.

In what were different times, the Journal ran into financial headwinds in the early 1950s. Mooney stepped up and put in the money needed to keep the paper running, becoming sole owner.

When the paper was back at full steam, under the editorship of Paddy O’Keeffe, Lord Thompson, owner of The Times in the UK, offered Mooney £100,000 to buy the title.

The Co Meath farmer turned down the offer and instead put ownership into an independent trust, where it remains to this day. Mooney was chairman of the Agricultural Trust for many years.

The 241ac Killegland was a well run farm on the edge of Ashbourne, leased out in later years. It was put on sale earlier this year by members of the Mooney family, with the sale handled by Coonan Property. The firm has announced execution of the sale at approximately €30,000/ac to a Leinster-based business person.

Famous secretary to step down

It’s been a tough month on secretaries I hear. First the Irish Limousin Cattle Society secretary stepped down and now, come 12 January 2021, Tullamore Show is set to lose its secretary Freda Kinnarney.

I’m told Freda dropped the bombshell on a Zoom meeting of the executive committee on Tuesday night.

Having been involved in some form since the show started in 1991, Freda was appointed secretary in 1997.

As the show grew in stature, her number of job titles increased and she now leaves as official company secretary and operations manager.

From humble beginnings, Tullamore has grown into my favourite show of the year. No small part of this is due to Freda’s team, which now extends to two full-time staff, college placement students, 30 executive committee members and over 500 volunteers.

Let’s just hope the next captain has the level-headedness and work ethic to keep the show on the road for 2021 like Freda did year after year.

Male Department staff ‘gender bias’ claims

It seems that men in the Department of Agriculture believe “gender bias” is at play in promotional competitions which favour their female colleagues.

A report commissioned by the ESRI caught the eye of The Dealer, as it shows that not only is there no significant difference in the success rate of men or women who applied for promotions but also that men in the Department still occupy most senior positions in the civil service.

If any Department staff, male or female, feel they need a promotion, The Dealer will consider taking on an intern. Applicants should have thorough advance knowledge of farm inspection and CAP payment plans.

Bualadh bos for Macra winners

Galway man Dara Killeen scooped the big award at last week’s Macra na Feirme/ FBD Young Farmer of the Year awards (see page 12), in addition to the dairy category and the award for most climate change conscious young farmer.

There were, as they say in Tipperary, a clatter of other awards made on the night:

  • Land mobility: Maighread Barron, Co Waterford.
  • Drystock: Christopher Scally, Co Roscommon.
  • Other enterprises: Nicola Clarke, Co Cavan.
  • Best emerging young farmer: James Kiernan, Co Cavan.
  • Best young farm manager: David Fogarty, Co Kilkenny.
  • National Rural Network biodiversity young farmer of the year: Joe Melody, Co Clare.
  • Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí.

    A mug of milk and leg of lamb

    I’ve often written in this column about plant-based ‘burgers’ and the like. Last week I was told of a presentation by Prof Alice Stanton of Devenish at the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) AGM where the nutritional quality of steak was compared to a plant-based ‘burger’ and balanced diets were discussed. I won’t go into the detail of it, but nutritionally the steak is miles ahead. INHFA president Colm O’Donnell summed it up well: “If you were doing a survey on the presidents of farm organisations and asked them what their favourite food was, I would be saying a good mug of milk, new spuds and a leg of a lamb.” That sounds like a balanced diet to me.

    Kevin the Carrot

    Kevin the Carrot has become a household name from his appearances on a certain retailer’s advertising campaigns and, like many celebrities, there is now a parody account impersonating the travelling carrot. One tweet pointed out a giant Kevin stuffed toy retails at €24.58, while a bag of Irish carrots is on sale for 69c at the same store. The Dealer noticed there’s a whole range of Kevin merchandise, all more expensive than a bag of carrots – even the Christmas wrapping paper.

    The €1.6m pigeon

    If your eyes watered at the €52,000 paid for a Simmental bull last month, you’d better sit down before reading this.

    An online bidder paid a Belgian breeder €1.6m for New Kim, a two-year-old, er, pigeon.

    This smashed the record for a racing pigeon, with insiders saying that record prices are usually for male birds. Kim is a female, with the buyer believed to be from China. If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the shed with some grain to see what I might catch.