You have to admire people who go beyond the call of duty to represent others on a national scale.

Farmers can easily whinge about the fact they feel either IFA presidential candidate is not good at X, Y and Z or that they feel they don’t represent what is happening on their farm.

However, ask any of these whingers to go out of their way to represent an organisation and put in the hard yards into a campaign, or indeed a leadership role, and they scatter to the four corners.

On Monday night, we recorded a live webinar with the two candidates running for the IFA president position, Francie Gorman from Laois and Martin Stapleton from Limerick.

The two IFA presidential candidates have toured the country not only in the last month, but for many years previously in their roles within IFA.

Irrespective of the eventual outcome, they must be commended for the effort and willingness to represent farmers.

Voting started on Monday night this week and postal votes will be accepted right up until 11 December.

The new development in postal voting seems set to have a big impact on how farmers engage with this contest.

We will watch with interest.

Is it better to be cautious and put a hold on imports?

An island border is good and bad, but of course is only as good as how it is controlled.

When you see the dramatic reaction of China to the atypical BSE case and an immediate cessation of our beef exports, it makes you wonder on the severity of other decisions.

The forestry sector has been dogged by many issues including ash dieback that was imported into this country despite Department controls at the border.

The severity of the impact of this beetle is highlighted by the fact that the majority of our existing crop is spruce trees

Another challenge that Irish tree owners are very aware of is the threat that the bark beetle could pose to the existing forest plantation in Ireland.

One tree owner described this to me as the foot and mouth of the forestry sector.

The severity of the impact of this beetle is highlighted by the fact that the majority of our existing crop is spruce trees.

The ash dieback consolation, if there was one, was that only a relatively small ash tree population was at stake.

The Department says it is monitoring and checking imports and that the beetle doesn’t survive in sawn timber.

However, with many Irish sawmill companies importing timber from Scotland where the bark beetle has been identified, you would wonder how confident the Department can be on keeping the beetle out.

Is it better to be cautious and put a hold on imports to strengthen controls and be safe rather than sorry?