Stone walls and fences around the country have never looked as good. I’ve spoken to many a farmer over the last week or so who are getting around to jobs that were put on the long finger. While some farmers with part-time jobs off the farm are not back to work, they’ve put the time to good use, mending fences, gates and walls.

While none of us are relishing the thought of this self-isolation business, it is vital to the cause and at least it has given some of us the chance to take a look at what needs to be done inside the farm gate.

Beef editor turned Twitter influencer

Our very own beef editor Adam Woods is number four on PR firm Murray’s annual Twitter index of influential journalists.

But he might have to lock horns with RTÉ’s Fran McNulty who took the top spot in the same agriculture and farming category, having been unleashed on the sector just as the beef crisis hit in August of last year.

RTÉ reporter Suzanne Campbell takes the number two slot, followed by Ear to the Ground’s Darragh McCullough, Adam Woods and Ella McSweeney, also of Ear to the Ground.

Irish Farmers Journal beef editor Adam Woods.

UFU proposes drive-in AGM

A new president of the UFU could be in place by 1 August, if proposals for a drive-in AGM are approved by the NI Executive.

The AGM was due to be held in April, but was postponed for three months due to the coronarvirus pandemic.

Current deputy president Victor Chestnutt is due to take on the top job, replacing Ivor Ferguson. The other deputy president, David Brown, is expected to be elected for a second two-year term, leaving two candidates, Dungiven farmer Ian Buchanan and Markethill farmer William Irvine to contest the remaining deputy position.

It is understood that the current rules of the UFU make it difficult to conduct the AGM by postal vote, or as a virtual meeting online.

As a result, the union has come up with a novel solution, that will involve council members driving their cars into the Eikon building at Balmoral Park. They will be asked to stay in their vehicles, while a platform party (abiding by social distancing) conducts the business from a newly constructed stage.

Dairygold board takes pay cut

I see the board of Dairygold decided to take a 10% pay cut because of milk price cuts. Farmer directors will take the cut and so too will chief executive Jim Woulfe.

The cut will apply on future payments, until milk prices improve.

The issue was being watched closely by milk suppliers.

Directors are paid for the time required to attend board meetings. It’s approximately €200 per meeting and claimed every month.

A travel allowance is also given, paid once per year.

Board meetings start at 10am and can run past 6pm. Because of the lockdown, board meetings are currently online.

Dairygold chief executive Jim Woulfe.

Zooming around the IFA meeting

I’m told the IFA is to hold a full national council meeting by Zoom next week with all of its member officers. As with practically every other workplace, the IFA has had to look at alternative communication methods.

While I’m sure it will be a full house for the meeting, so to speak, it will be interesting to hear how members fare at interjecting and getting their points across. The Dealer is wondering how shouts of “here, here” will work on Zoom.

What would you do if you won the lotto?

What would you buy if you won the lotto? A new tractor? Build new sheds? Upgrade the milking parlour?

I wasn’t surprised this week to see most farmers would buy land if they won the lotto. Ifac asked its farmers for the Irish Farm Report 2020 if they won the lottery would they buy more land and 52% said yes. It’s no surprise really!

A different wrap

There was a different sort of wrapping to the norm going on at Cloone GAA pitch in Leitrim last week, after the first cut of silage was taken off the ground.

I’m sure there will be similar sights in many pitches around the country, with club and county panels not being able to train due to the coronavirus and grass taking off.

The Dealer wouldn’t mind a look at the silage analysis results.

Dáil etiquette

I see there was quite the tiff between Minister Michael Creed and Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy last week over Minister for Health Simon Harris not appearing in the Dáil. Harris said public health advice recommended deputies did not spend more than two hours in the Dáil chamber. Carthy made his disappointment known. Later, Creed said Carthy had left the chamber before asking Harris any questions accusing him of “grandstanding”.