What is the most pressing issue for Irish farmers?
“The most difficult challenges facing farmers are farm income, increased costs and environmental constraints.
“It has been far too easy to blame farmers for environmental problems and climate change. It’s a completely flawed policy to suggest that we should cut back our sustainable grass-based production in Ireland and import food from other parts of the world with a higher carbon footprint.
“As president, I will challenge this head on with the facts and the science. I believe farmers producing top-quality food in a sustainable way is not the problem, but part of the solution and I have proposed a €15,000 environmental scheme payment.”
Why are you running for IFA president?
“I am determined to restore farmers’ belief in IFA and strengthen the association’s position as a powerhouse to deliver for farmers.
“Working together, I believe with my strong leadership, IFA can be a powerful voice for farmers and the farming sector.
“I am passionate about farming and the IFA, and in the collective ability and strength of farmers to deliver.
“Totally committed, I will work exceptionally hard to make a real difference for farmers as IFA president.”
What is your number one priority if you are elected IFA president?
“The number one priority is farm income, to improve the living standards of our members. To advance this core mission, I am determined to position IFA back front and centre on all policy negotiations on agriculture.
“I will work with everybody in a fair, open and honest way and respect all views. I am decisive and if we are not making progress or not getting results, I will not be afraid to call it out and take stronger action, with the support of members.”
What one change would you make to the IFA?
“Farming has a very positive story to tell, but it’s not getting through in the media. I am determined to change that.
“I will bring forward a new communications plan, with an effective news platform to communicate directly with our members. I will work closely with the media, build strong relationships and communicate our message clearly and positively.
“We need a stronger, more focused, properly funded IFA, working and delivering for farmers.”
Family: Married to Kay, with one son, Tom.
Farm: Suckler, beef and sheep farming in Ballinakill, Co Laois.