Watch: election candidates try to swing voters with catchy videos
Two local election candidates caught The Dealer’s eye this week with catchy videos.

The days of only knocking on doors, making house calls and putting posters up during elections to swing votes are long gone. Social media has changed the game.

With one week to go until the local and European elections, I spotted two videos doing the rounds on Facebook for two local election candidates.

First up was Longford native, Sinn Féin candidate and farmer Mark Maguire. He sang a cover of Shut Up and Dance, changing the lyrics to Come Out and Vote.

No election is complete without a Healy-Rae in some shape or form. The son of farmer and TD Michael Healy-Rae, Jackie Healy-Rae, is running in the local elections Kerry.

If you know of any other farming-related election videos, be sure to send them in to me.

The Big Dealer: applause for NI politicians
Government in the north, quarrel at Balmoral, Gigginstown to continue beef enterprise and much more in this week's Big Dealer.

With no local government in Northern Ireland since Stormont collapsed in early 2017, and continued wrangling over marriage equality and the Irish language, it’s hard to be optimistic about the latest round of talks among political parties.

Step forward Dr Denis McMahon, the head man at the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). With the main party leaders sitting under his nose at a breakfast event at last week’s Balmoral Show, he praised the latest talks initiative, and called for a round of applause from the agri-food industry leaders present.

Once the eyebrows got lowered, most joined in, but it wasn’t exactly an effervescent response.

The quarrel at Balmoral

There are two investigations ongoing into the fist fight started by a handful of visibly inebriated lads in the bar tent at Balmoral Show on Friday evening.

The first investigation is by the police into assault, and the second by organisers Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS), who have promised “appropriate action”. As usual nowadays, the ugly scene was filmed and quickly shared on social media, which should help the PSNI deal with the clearly identifiable participants. While the video went viral, an RUAS spokesperson assured that no one was seriously injured and said: “It is sad that a few people resorted to this behaviour when tens of thousands of people enjoyed a fun family day out.”

It’s hard to disagree with that.

Gigginstown backs Angus bulls

While Michael O’Leary has begun to wind down his Gigginstown racing operation, farmers will be interested to hear that he has no plans for a similar end to his beef farming enterprise. I’m assured that the Ryanair boss will be hosting his annual Angus bull sale in 2020.

Time will tell if the equine exodus means that the pedigree bulls will have more room to roam on the Westmeath farm or if they will be joined by another enterprise.

Michael O'Leary.

All set for Croom Tractor run

Vintage, new and slightly less than new tractors have all been invited to the Croom tractor run, in aid of the Jack and Jill Foundation. Last year the group raised over €10,000, and the cross-country route through rivers and farms in Co Limerick is always a major draw for farmers. With the promise of a breakfast roll to start and a bacon dinner afterwards, The Dealer might just be tempted to bring his own set of wheels to Buttercup Farm, Co Limerick at 12pm on Sunday.

Croom tractor run will host its tenth annual event this year.

Location, location, location for GAA players

Some of you might have heard that a farmer in rural France enrolled 50 of his ewes in his local primary school in a bid to boost numbers and prevent its closure.

Among the new pupils were Baa-bete, Dolly and Shaun.

While not a recommendation, The Dealer hears that some rural GAA clubs are so desperate to retain young players they’ve cracked down on transfers to bigger clubs with better facilities. Some bigger clubs now won’t accept players from smaller clubs unless they have proof of address, leading to some quiet address forgeries. The Dealer even knows of one child who has “moved in” with his brother in a town.

No GAA club has resorted to French tactics yet though.

All the single ladies ... love Kerry Co-op

The Kerry Co-op shareholders meeting last week drew a massive crowd to the Ballyroe Heights Hotel outside Tralee.

A German guest was wondering what all the commotion was, what with cars parked for half a mile in every direction. She asked a few stragglers what was happening upstairs, and was told it was a farmer co-op meeting to discuss what to do about the shareholding in the company. “Are these farmers rich?” she enquired. “Missus, there’s about a billion in shares in that room,” came the reply. “It’s not Mrs, it’s Miss,” she said in return, “and I think I might go for a drink in the bar later on.” Maybe one shareholder got an early dividend!

Devenish bros

I see the managing director of fertiliser importer Nitrofert Micheál Brennan is to join Devenish Nutrition. He will take up a business development role and join his brother Owen Brennan, executive chair at the company. Devenish wants to boost turnover to over £300m by 2021, and add 100 jobs to its current 450.

Beef Summit protest

The Dealer is happy to clarify that Compassion in World Farming played no role in a protest at the Beef Summit two weeks ago. It was in fact Direct Action Everywhere that interrupted the meeting with a protest.

Scuds flying ahead of Drinagh AGM
The Dealer notes some interesting text messages circulating ahead of Drinagh Co-op's AGM.

Some excitement is expected at Drinagh Co-op’s annual general meeting on Thursday evening, with a number of milk suppliers clearly still annoyed that they didn’t get a Carbery bonus for 2018.

On Thursday morning, an anonymous text was sent around stating that “a sale of Carbery under consideration” and “have your say at Drinagh AGM tonight”.

Even the sender of the text knows that’s not true - Drinagh and Carbery were quick to dismiss this as mischievous rumour when asked. Presumably the text was just the first of a few scud missiles to be fired up at the top table from the floor at the AGM.

Bonus

While the Carbery didn’t pay a bonus on 2018 milk, it topped up its new stability fund by €6m in 2018 lifting this rainy day fund to near €10m.

The fund is paid out when milk price drops below 30c/l before VAT.

However, Carbery and the west Cork co-ops are now relearning the old lesson that you can’t stop a payment that people have got used to.

In recent years, the bonus has varied from around 0.5c/l to 1c/l and for very large herd could amount to €10,000.

Suppliers to the four west Cork co-ops only learned that there wouldn’t be a bonus when it was revealed at the start of the year by a Lisavaird board member – that didn’t help.

What also didn’t help was that Carbery’s remuneration committee last year increased fees for farmers representing the four west Cork co-ops on the Carbery board.

The committee, headed by Drinagh chair TJ Sullivan, nearly doubled the flat payment to €16,000, while there’s also a payment per meeting attended.

The issues of milk suppliers’ bonus and directors' fees were both expected to arise from the floor at Thursday evening’s Drinagh AGM.

Read more

Two-thirds of Carbery farmers in derogation

Ingredients for success - another solid year at Carbery Group in 2018

Letter: the real price paid for milk

Brothers join forces at Devenish
The Brennan brothers are to work together to grow Devenish by 50% in the next two years.

I see the managing director of fertiliser importer Nitrofert Micheál Brennan is to join Devenish Nutrition. He will take up a business development role and join his brother Owen Brennan, executive chair at the company. Devenish wants to boost turnover to over £300m by 2021, and add 100 jobs to its current 450.