In a general sense, I went to the 2016 Ploughing Championships and it was amazing to see the advancements and ingenuity across the Irish farming sector there. But the thing I’ve seen specifically in my work that I would rate as the best is the willingness of farmers to work with us to voluntarily make their land more hospitable to pollinators and wildlife. We have one farmer that reduced grazing on a patch of land to provide more wildflowers for bees. Another organic farmer grew Phacelia as a cover crop to provide more flowers for bees. The ideas and methods used by these farmers are amazing and it’s wonderful to work with them through the Pollinator Plan.
Irish farming is demonstrating remarkable resilience in 2016 despite poor weather at times in some parts of the country, unfavourable market conditions for some major commodities, and the knock-on adverse effects of the Brexit referendum result in June on the sterling-euro exchange rate in the latter half of the year. It is thus reassuring that the industry remains committed to improving the sustainability of Irish farm production, through initiatives such as Origin Green, which are going to pay off in the longer-term.