The tillage sector welcomed news last week that Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue will form a Food Vision Tillage Group.

The Government has not called together a specific group on tillage since 2016. The Tillage Forum was called during Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed’s tenure and came after one of the worst harvests for many in Ireland as crops lay unharvested in wet fields and straw was eventually baled in the following spring.

It was set up to tackle a crisis and payments were ultimately paid to many who were severely affected by the weather that year, although it wasn’t all plain sailing.

A large number of people gathered in Kildare Street at that time, with many groups represented.

So, who is likely to be invited to sit on the committee this time? Some of the possibilities are outlined below and while expertise are no doubt needed, it may be a good thing not to have too many in the room either so as progress is made.

  • Irish Grain Growers Group.
  • Irish Farmers Association.
  • Tillage Industry Ireland.
  • Macra.
  • Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
  • Teagasc.
  • Irish Seed Trade Association.
  • Irish Grain and Feed Association.
  • Acorn Independent Merchants.
  • Glanbia.
  • Dairygold.
  • Bord Bia.
  • Drinks Industry Ireland.
  • While the group needs to be concentrated to be effective, it would also be important to have end users of grain in the room. Drinks Industry Ireland is an obvious choice here.

    Arguably the above includes many of those users such as the feed mills, the Irish Grain and Feed Association, Bord Bia and Drinks Ireland, but maybe there is a need to bring Meat Industry Ireland and Dairy Industry Ireland to the table.

    The group needs to meet soon. Land is being lost from the sector and recent wet weather means that there will be plenty of work to be done when ground conditions improve.