Tommy Hayes, Limerick – Beef

“They’re beating around the bush. There’s going to be a cull, calling a spade a spade.

“I see a future for myself in the sector. I grew up on a farm but it’s a thing of getting people into agriculture and keeping them in.

The average age of the farmer is rising. The nine to five is becoming a little bit more attractive. Some young fellas just don’t want to [farm], they don’t see the grá for it there.

“I’d like to be there, thereabouts but I think [for]the Irish sector anyway, it’s looking positive.”

Philip and Tracey Jones, Wales – Beef and sheep

Philip and Tracey Jones travelled from Wales for the Tullamore Show on Sunday.

“[In Wales] there’s talk that we’re going to have to put 10% of our ground into trees if we want to claim the single farm payment. It’s criminal.

“They’re crying out about these food miles, well that’s what’s going to happen. They’re going to be importing food and we’re growing trees.”

“[The Wales Assembly] is very anti-farming, they think the world stops at the N4 corridor. I don’t think they know the rest of Wales exists.”

Declan McGrath, Donegal – Sheep

Declan and Maura McGrath with sons Joseph and Oisín and their cousin James Boyle at Tullamore Show on Sunday.

“If they’re saying these [emissions targets] are true, we’re going to have to cut back.

“You’ll not get too intensive in sheep farming. You won’t get the same amount of money out of it. You could use twice the amount of fertiliser and have twice the amount of ewes but would you really have any more money out of it by the time you’d be finished?

“I tell [my sons] to get a job and do a bit of part-time farming. I work full-time at it, didn’t make a wild lot.

“So, I tell them, yes, definitely, have a good interest in it and do it part-time. And then maybe if they do see that they can make it full-time, that’s up to themselves.”

Seán Rafferty, Monaghan – Sucklers

Monaghan beef farmer Seán Rafferty at Tullamore Show on Sunday.

“Farming, sure look, there’s very little in it. It’s only gone a hobby for me. It’s nearly at the stage where a lot of people, suckling people, they’re leasing the land to the dairy men. Let them worry then about the emissions.

“I have a son; he works away and he helps me out. There’s not much in it. It is a hobby. It keeps me going and I like doing it and all that but it’s coming to the stage where I think I may maybe let it or something.”

Julie and Michael Buckley, Tipperary – Dairy-beef

Dairy calf to beef farmers Julie and Michael Buckley at Tullamore Show on Sunday.

“There is [a future for farming] but people have to change, the farmer has to change, people have to stop thinking we’re the bad guy the whole time. There’s a lot of negatives in the press and all that. You can’t turn on the radio without feeling bad.

“I know climate change is a big issue at the moment but I think definitely the press and media is driving it on more. Most farmers are just trying to make a living and we’re not bad guys either. We want to take care of the farm as good as it was in past generations.”

Gabriel Sloyan, Co Mayo – Beef

Gabriel Sloyan, Co Mayo at the commercial heifer show ring at the Tullamore Show.

“We’re all going to have a go at the politicians and we’re going to blame them. I think it’s our nature but I think they’re coming a bit hard on the farmer.

“We’ve so much pollution and it’s not just all coming from the cow. The farmer is easily hit. You can put pressure on the farmer and you can tell him that he’s going to hit his grants and he’s going to do whatever you ask him to do.”

Joe Hallinan, Ennis, Co Clare – Sucklers

Joe Hallinan, Ennis, Co Clare at the Tullamore Show on Sunday.

“It’s going to be very hard for farmers to meet [?the emissions targets], I think particularly for beef. They’re down on top of the farmer and the poor cow for everything.

“The suckler man will lose out. In the west of Ireland, it’s mainly sucklers that’s in it and the west of Ireland is always breeding good cattle.

“If they cut the cow herd, where are the good cattle going to come out of?

No future

“There’s not [a future] for young farmers in the beef sector for the moment. They’d want an awful lot of land to get a living out of it. They’d want to have off-farm jobs.”