Irish pig farm leader, Pat O’Flaherty, has issued a call for the country’s “younger farmers” to put themselves forward for election to the Irish Farmers Association’s national pigs and pigmeat committee.
Having been the committee’s chairman for the past four years, Mr O’Flaherty (pictured above) is due to give way to a new person as soon as the 2017/2018 committee is in place. Regional election meetings for that process begin next week and the retiring chairman is looking for the next generation to step up.
“Although most farmers are aware of the public campaigning that is carried out by the committee, often the work carried out in the background is underestimated and this work is very important,” he said. “It is vital, therefore, that we have strong representation across the sector to address the many challenges that we face.
“I would like to see some younger farmers putting themselves forward for the committee as bringing new blood and fresh ideas are important to keep it vibrant”.
He then listed the committee’s achievements over the last four years:
- Pig prices have, on the back of the DNA scheme, moved from an average of 94% of the EU average to over 103%.
- The pig industry is included in the low-cost loan scheme.
- IFA secured TAMs funding for the sector as well as €1m in aid for pig farmers as a result of intense lobbying at both national and EU level.
- Apart from the compulsory Country of Origin labelling that IFA secured for fresh meat, pressure has seen Bord Bia tighten up the use of their logos. Retail support for Irish Quality Assured pig meat product is at an all-time high, but there is always someone in the market trying to undermine Irish meat and this is a constant battle for the Pigs Committee.
- The Pig Industry Stakeholders Group was born out of IFA pressure to tackle animal health issues with much of the Association’s ‘Pig Health Plan’ incorporated into the final report. The new Chairman will play a pivotal role in the Implementation Committee now being formed to bring these recommendations to the next level.
“Pig production is always challenging in Ireland,” added Mr O’Flaherty. “Being involved with the Committee provides farmers with a say in how the industry will develop into the future. I am encouraging all farmers to take part in securing their future.”