Praise from the top in EU for Macra

Irish Examiner - Farming - - MACRA -

Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sioner for Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment Phil Hogan has praised Macra na Feirme, not least for the pos­i­tive im­pact it had on his own life.

As the key­note speaker at the Macra Na­tional Con­fer­ence at LIT, Thurles, Com­mis­sioner Hogan praised Macra’s abil­ity to in­flu­ence Eu­ro­pean agri­cul­tural pol­icy. He ref­er­enced their flag­ship ini­tia­tives on land mo­bil­ity and col­lab­o­ra­tive farm­ing ar­range­ments.

He ac­knowl­edged Macra’s tire­less com­mit­ment in pro­mot­ing the im­por­tance of young farm­ers at lo­cal, na­tional and Eu­ro­pean lev­els, and said that Macra mem­bers through­out the coun­try can in­flu­ence agri­cul­tural pol­icy at Eu­ro­pean level.

“I told you about some of the Com­mis­sion’s pri­or­i­ties back as far as 2015, Macra re­sponded ex­cep­tion­ally well and be­came part of pol­icy pro­pos­als of the Com­mon Agri­cul­tural Pol­icy.

“So it just shows you, whether you are in Three Cas­tles Macra na Feirme, you’re in the Sun­dun re­gion, or you’re in Moyne-tem­ple­tuohy, you can have an im­pact as a mem­ber of Macra na Feirme on Eu­ro­pean pol- icies, to­day I want to ac­knowl­edge that very much in terms of your pol­icy pa­pers.” He thanked Macra for its “un­wa­ver­ing sup­port” for a strong and well-funded CAP, and for mak­ing sure that the “gen­er­a­tional re­newal” is­sues are kept cen­tre stage at Eu­ro­pean level.

C o m m i ss i o n e r H o g a n spoke warmly about the pos­i­tive im­pact Macra na Feirme had on his own life. Be­ing a mem­ber of Macra taught him many lessons in life, in­clud­ing “how to stand up, put up and shut up, how to or­gan­ise and to ad­vo­cate, and how to stand up for the is­sues we be­lieve in, and I am cer­tainly al­ways very proud of my days in Macra na Feirme” Hogan, in his role as Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sioner for Agri­cul­ture, in­tends on putting gen­er­a­tional re­newal front and cen­tre and ac­knowl­edged that young farm­ers need “spe­cial help” in the form of fi­nan­cial sup­port to al­low them to deal with risks and weather con­di­tions that they en­counter. The Macra Na­tional Con­fer­ence is es­ti­mated to gen­er­ate €250,000 for the lo­cal econ­omy, and it will be hosted by Avondhu Macra next year (see #Rally2019 #let­savond­huit). The 54th Queen of the Land Fes­ti­val will be hosted by Of­faly Macra this week­end in the Bridge House Ho­tel, Tul­lam­ore, Co Of­faly.

This year the fes­ti­val sees the in­tro­duc­tion of a fo­rum on women in busi­ness as part of the Fri­day night line-up. Ac­cord­ing to fes­ti­val chair Ger­ard Ma­hon, this of­fers the con­tes­tants an op­por­tu­nity to meet with women who have proven their abil­i­ties to lead in busi­ness and to de­velop suc­cess­ful ca­reers.

This year’s fes­ti­val in­cludes rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Eng­land and North­ern Ire­land. Laura Bull, a nurse, from Bee­ston Young Farm­ers Club rep­re­sents Eng­land. Lynne Mont­gomery, a ve­teri­nary nurse, from the City of Derry Young Farm­ers Club, rep­re­sents North­ern Ire­land. Lynne ex­pressed her de­light at be­ing se­lected to par­tic­i­pate: “It’s a great hon­our to rep­re­sent North­ern Ire­land at this year’s Queen of the Land. I’m also rep­re­sent­ing my club, c o u n t y a n d t h e Yo u n g Farm­ers Clubs of Ul­ster (YFCU) as a whole. I’m so glad I was asked to do this, it is a real priv­i­lege and I’m so ex­cited to meet all the girls. It’s go­ing to be a great week­end.” Ger­ard Ma­hon said the in­ter­na­tional ele­ment to Queen of the Land is “hugely im­por­tant”.

“It has been the culmi- na­tion of many years of work in de­vel­op­ing re­la­tion­ships. Par­tic­u­larly at a time where we face Brexit, it’s im­por­tant for us to main­tain in­ter­na­tional re­la­tion­ships and in par­tic­u­lar with our UK and NI coun­ter­parts and this fes­ti­val plays a piv­otal role in that” Macra pres­i­dent James Healy, speak­ing at the Na­tional Con­fer­ence, em­pha­sised the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ships with young farm­ers groups in the UK.

“It’s very im­por­tant as you saw to­day we had Lyn­d­sey Martin from NFYFC, we also have rep­re­sen­ta­tives from young farm­ers groups from Wales, Scot­land and North­ern Ire­land this week­end.

“It’s a great op­por­tu­nity for us to share ex­pe­ri­ences. There is a lot of dis­cus­sion around Brexit.

“I think un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances there’s a lot of other is­sues you would dis­cuss, but Brexit has be­come such a topic of dis­cus­sion at the mo­ment that it’s hard to get be­yond it.

“When we talk about those macro fac­tors that are im­pact­ing upon us, but ob­vi­ously dis­cussing is­sues that our sis­ter or­gan­i­sa­tions have in com­mon whether it’s ac­cess­ing young farmer in­cen­tives there is al­ways some­thing we can learn from each other and I think it’s very pos­i­tive that the five young farmer groups on these is­lands are so in­ter­ac­tive and do try and work so much in com­mon.”

Laura Bull, left, rep­re­sents Eng­land, and Lynne Mont­gomery rep­re­sents North­ern Ire­land, in this week­end’s 54th Queen of the Land Fes­ti­val.

Pic­ture: O’gorman Pho­tog­ra­phy

Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sioner for Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment Phil Hogan with Macra Pres­i­dent James Healy at the Macra Na­tional Agri­cul­tural Con­fer­ence spon­sored by Massey Fer­gu­son in LIT Thurles.

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