Gavin Duffy of Dragons Den
The current series of Dragon's Den has come to an end & the only Dragon that has stayed the pace for all series so far is Gavin Duffy who joins Damien in studio this morning. Gavin speaks to Damien about the series & he talks about what he has spotted, that is an interesting & uniquely Irish phenomenon, the Farmer/Inventor or problem solver!
Maura McElhone - Farm Blogger
Our occasional columnist Maura McElhone has been busy on the farm this week as she turns another corner in her journey from typical townie to rural superwoman!
Michael Creed - Min for Agricultural & Food
Live animal exports, brexit & climate change are among the topical issues swirling around farming right now. Damien took the opportunity to sit down with the Minister for Agricultural & Food, Michael Creed to get his opinion on some of these topics.
Razor Clams - Suzanne Campbell
Razor clams are a valuable & tasty food with ninety-nine percent of them landing in Irish ports, leaving Ireland then by plane to export markets in Asia. They were once foraged & cooked as an important foodstuff so why don't we eat them anymore? Food & Farming reporter Suzanne Campbell headed to the north-east to find out more.
Glanbia - vote on changes to structure
Thousands of farmers descended on Punchestown this week to vote on changes to the structure of Glanbia. Damien popped along to find out what are the big issues occupying the minds of farmers.
Country singer Derek Ryan
Damien is joined by a very special guest, Irish country music singer Derek Ryan & his band who are live in studio this morning, for a chat & performance. Derek is currently doing a country tour & he performs for us two songs 'Hold onto Your Hat' & '60 Years Ago'.
Ewan Hanney, Wicklow
Ten year old Ewan Hanney came to our attention with the news of him buying a belted Galloway heifer, following making his communion. Ewan lives near his uncle Tom's farm in Aughrim & Brenda Donohue went up to visit Ewan & his mother Linda to bring us this report.
Henry Corbally - Glanbia
Glanbia is one of the biggest & most successful Irish Agricultural business companies. Following a merger of 2 Co-Ops in the southeast, Avonmore & Waterford at the turn of the millennium, it has had a metamorphosis of sorts away from core agriculture into what it now describes itself as a global nutrition group employing 6 thousand people in 32 countries. Joining Damien in studio this morning is Chairman of Glanbia, Henry Corbally, a dairy farmer from Co. Meath.
Gorse Fires & Bird Watch Ireland
First a montage of voices & opinions on the devastating gorse fires which raged over the week. BirdWatch Ireland say this morning that it is reckless of the government to propose legalising burning in March & issued a statement saying out of control fires are happening because of government failure to adequately monitor & enforce the laws. Suzanne Campbell brings us this report.
New initiative - Kickstart - Lidl & Bord Bia
A new initiative from Lidl, supported by Bord Bia, which is good for Irish Agriculture, good for Irish food & good for Irish Business, called Kickstart, a chance for small food & drink suppliers to supply Lidl for their 'Best of Ireland' food promotion in September 2017. Any Irish food supplier across the country can enter. Daragh is joined by Aidan Comerford, of Comerford's Bakery.
Active Retirement Associations
All around Ireland, Active Retirment Associations emphasis the benefits of staying active in older age. Whether it's arts & culture, sports or fitness, study has shown that getting active & involved is said to have a huge positive effect on our wellbeing as we get on in years. Mary McDonnell of Grey Heron Media went along to visit Tipperary Active Association.
Proposal of shooting at night ban
Earlier this week at meetings held around the country, farmers were in uproar at new proposals by the Dept of Justice to ban shooting at night. Most predators especially to lambs, are nocturnal animals so food & farming reporter Suzanne Campbell went to hear views of Wicklow farmers on gun usage & the proposed changes.
Co-Op Beef Ban
This week saw sensational, not to say, misleading headlines here, such as 'Brexit Blockade: UK Giant wants ban on Irish Meat'. To give some reality on the future of Irish beef in Britain, we are joined by Kevin White, Fresh Foods Editor of The Grocer, Britain's main retail trade publication & Dr. Fiona Thorne, Snr Research Officer with Teagasc, who recently presented some disturbing analysis on the competitiveness of Irish beef production.
The Natterjack Toad
The natterjack toad is only found on the Dingle Peninsula & near Rossbeigh on the Iveragh Peninsula in Kerry & while it was listed as 'endangered', it's enjoying a mini baby-boom. A conservation project, where natterjack toadlets are raised in tanks before being re-introduced to the wild first at Folta Wildlife Park, has been extended to Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium. Majella O'Sullivan went in search of the natterjack toad in its natural habitat near Castlemaine Harbour.
Combines for Charity
Well its Combines for Charity in what seems like almost an annual event in Co Meath, as they vie for yet another Guinness World Record. It's a massive undertaking and the site in Kiltale, Co Meath is a hive of activity. Joining Daragh in studio is one of the organisers, Tony Brady & Kevin Shannon, one of the designated harvester drivers is on the line from Kiltale.
Psychologist & former All Ireland winner with Armagh, Enda McNulty said recently that growing up on a farm was a great advantage especially for playing sport at an elite level. Rugby stars Sean O'Brien, Tadgh Furlong, CJ Sander & Rory Best are current exponents of the belief. This week Damien met Irish soccer International, Leanne Kiernan & her dad John, on their pig farm in Bailieboro County Cavan.
Since the beginning of the year over 85,000 Irish cattle have been shipped live from here to markets across Europe & the Middle East. These ships are licensed by Dept of Agric & must meet strict strict animal welfare rules regarding conditions on board, at this trade is worth 100 million euro annually. But it has its critics, particularly amidst recent reports of cattle been treated inhumanely once they have reached their destination. Damien is joined by the President of the Irish Cattle & Sheep Asoc & Gabriel Paun, EU Director of Animals International who filmed such abuse.
This Monday is May Day & it marks the first day of summer, signalling the start of turf cutting, a busy period for farmers. On May 1st tenant farmers used to pay their half-yearly rent to landlords, farm labourers were hired & Kilkenny women gave men new hurling balls. May Day traditions are mostly associated with luck & protection. Brenda Donohue met Michael Fortune, a folklorist & filmaker from Ballindaggin, Co Wexford to talk about May in the Irish calendar & traditions associated with in.
This week, 50 years ago, Gardai arrived on farms across the country & rounded up farmers taking them to Mountjoy prison as the farmers fights campaign continued following the famous march to Dublin & sit in. Damien speaks to Prof Paul Rouse of UCD & Alan Gillis, one of those farmers who was incarcerated as a guest of state who went on to become leader of the IFA & a FG MEP.
Wind Turbines - Nuisance Or Not?
Damien visited Roscommon to hear local objections to wind turbines. He was also joined in studio by Jim Power and Colm McCarthy to debate those concerns.
Ireland's Food Exports To China
Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed discussed the potential for exporting Irish beef to China. James O'Donnell from Bord Bia joined us live from Shanghai to have an in-depth look at Chinese market opportunities from the Irish Export perspective. Ireland currently exports a huge proportion of its pork, dairy and even duck to China.
Tractor Singing Goes Viral
Tractor singing Star Leanne Rowlette & her father Sean joined Damien to discuss her recent trending on social media. Leanne's Dad filmed and posted a video of her beautiful singing from atop a tractor seat and needless to say, it went viral.
The Benedictine Monks of Silverstream
It's Holy Week & for Christians worldwide it is the most significant feast in the Church Calender. Damien visited The Benedictine Monks of Silverstream Priory outside Stamullen, Co. Meath earlier in the week.
Sean Finan, President of Macra na Feirme
There are about 100,000 farmers in Ireland & Sean Finan is President of Macra na Feirme, the young farmers organisation. Sean joins Damien to discuss the next generation of farmers & he has put together a document on the main points that would be in the interests of younger farmers today.
Growing tea in Ireland - Suzanne Campbell
In Ireland, we are more likely a tea culture, even though the coffee culture has made huge inroads into Ireland over the last few years, because we are the second highest consumers of tea in the world. Of course tea and coffee is harvested in warmer climates & at higher altitude such as China, Africa & India. But could we grow our own tea in our own back garden. Well we are about to find out as our Food & farming reporter Suzanne Campbell has been to a nursery this week to meet Irish plant supplier Thomas Quearney of the garden supplier Mr. Middleton.
Food Cloud - Iseult Ward
Its estimated that around one third of food produced in the world is wasted. Some of it never makes it to the shop shelves in the first place. But the focus is growing on trying to reduce the amount of food that goes to waste. In France they are well on the way for making it mandatory for supermarkets to stop food waste & there are various groups here in Ireland also trying to tackle the issue. None more so than Food Cloud. Iseult Ward, co-founder & CEO joins Damien in studio this morning.
Aintree Grand National Day
Yes it is Grand National Day at Aintree with the big race off at a quarter past five.
Joining us now from the course is Leo Powell editor of the Irish Field
From Brexit to cattle farming, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary offered his unique insight on a range of topics as he spoke to Damien earlier.
MEP Marian Harkin
Three weeks ago, police in Brazil raided a number of meat processors suspected of packing rotten meat for export to Europe & consumption in local schools. Brazil exports billions of euro worth of poultry & beef every year. But this week MEPS called on the EU to immediately slap a ban on meat imports from Brazil & end to the Mercursor trade discussions. One of the MEPs calling for the ban is Midlands North West MEP Marian Harkin & she joins Damien on the line.
Drink Drive new proposals
Minister for Transport Shane Ross and Kerry TD Danny Healy Rae going head to head their on the divisive issue of increasing the penalty for those caught drink driving at the lower end of the intoxication scale.
So what is the view on the ground. We sent Daniel Clancy of Grey Heron Media to a rural town in South Co. Limerick to see what local feeling was about the new proposals
Tagging of Cows
There is news emerging from Brussels this morning about drastic plans to insist that farmers name their cows individually. In a new initiative aimed at improving animal welfare standards, whilst treating the animals with more respect & dignity, tagging of cows is set to be outlawed & farmers will instead be issued with name plates for each individual cow. On the line is Catriona Murphy, Farmers Journal, Prof Adrian Krebs of Berne University in Switzerland, the man behind the project & Matt O’Keeffe, dairy farmer from Co Kilkenny & Editor of the Irish Farmers Monthly Magazine.
Surfing Farm – Brenda Donohue
After years travelling the globe surfing, Fergal Smith has now settled in Moy, Co. Clare with his family on a few acres of land where he is mainly growing vegetables in what he calls his garden rather than his farm. Brenda travelled West to the banner county to meet Fergal where he was just finishing a surf.
Fair City actress Rachel Pilkington there on why she became a vegan. It stroked up quite the online frenzy between meat eaters, farmers vegetarians & vegans. Thi s morning we are joined on the line by sheep farmer from Co Westmeath John Fagan who tweeted last week his annoyance at the way farmers were portrayed by the vegan movement. Also joining Damien in studio is Declan Bowens who runs the Back into Daylight animal sanctuary in Navan Co Meath.
Kofi Annan & CAP
Everyone is having their say on how the next Common Agricultural Policy should look as the public consultation process as it continues. This week, Macra na Feirme published their own proposals which focus on incentivising older farmers to transfer land to younger farmers. This week former UN Sec Gen Kofi Annan was in Brussels to speak at the Forum of the Future of Agriculture on the topic of sustainable development goals in farming. Damien spoke to the former UN Sec Gen in Brussels & asked what he thought of the CAP.
Big Week on the Farm
First this morning, Damien speaks the Shalvey Family in Maudabawn who will host this year’s Big Week on the Farm which will be featured on RTE 1 TV from Monday next at 7 o’clock, presented by Áine Lawlor & Ella McSweeney.
RDS Career Fair
It is estimated that there are around 120,000 farmers in Ireland ranging from the hobby farmer with a couple of acres & a few sheep to the bigger dairy & tillage operators. It is a number that dwindles year on year yet the number of jobs associated with primary farming are increasing, in associated areas of food processing, animal health, research & so on. At the RDS later this week over 1,000 jobs in the agri food sector will be on offer. In studio with Damien are William Faulkner, Head of Human Resources at Fyffes, & Mary Phelan of the Farmers Journal.
Holy Mackerel (Fish Wars(
Sean O’Fonoghue of the Killybegs Fishermans Organisation, his counterpart Patrick Murphy from Castletownbere & fishermen Kieran Doherty & Michael Gallager , Killybegs & John D O’Sullivan from Castletownbere speaking in that report with Damien.
CAP - Common Agricultural Policy
Mention the Common Agricultural Policy & a heated debate is sure to ensue. Each yer almost 60 billion euro of EU money is funnelled into keeping European farming ticking over & supplying us with food that is subject to strict rules. Supporters say it keeps food affordable, detractors say it only props up unsustainable & unprofitable farming. But CAP policy is always under review. Suzanne Cambell was at a meeting of the Committee of the regions held in Brussels this week & joins Damien this morning.
With fears of the effects of Brexit on Irish agriculture continue to occupy minds. This week the Agricultural Science Association & Bord Bia both held big events analysing the possible effects. Wetherspoons operates 1000 pubs in the UK & here in Ireland & buys millions of euros worth of food & drink from the EU countries every year. Tim Martin founded the Weatherspoons chain of pubs in 1979 & this week spoke to Anna Hill of the BBC about Brexit effect on his food & drinks purchases.
Andy Dermody is a farmer from Twomileborris, Co. Tipperary & he joins Damien on the line this morning. Also we have Dr Jennifer McClure, a geneticist with the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation to discuss further what Andy speaks about.
Blogger Maura McElhone
Columnist & story teller Maura McElhone, a townie who fell for a farmer told us last month about the big move to live with her farming boyfriend. She has been keeping a blog on life on the farm & is back to tell us how she is settling in on the farm at the busiest time of the year, lambing & calving.
Sheep Farmer James Murphy
We are at the peak of the lambing season, over 30,000 farms across the country, 2 million lambs will be born by the time the season winds down in April. Damien popped down to Inistigoe in Co Kilkenny to chat with well know local sheep farmer James Murphy who farms with his wife Chrissy.
John Cummins - Ear to the Ground
It’s 27 years since this was first aired on RTE TV. Mairead McGuinness now an MEP presented the very first Ear to the Ground in 1994, making it among one of the longest running TV series on Irish TV & still going strong. Joining Damien in studio this morning, is the man who was its first executive producer & you could say founder John Cummins who has retired.
The Irish Angus Producer Group
Learning about beef & where it comes from & how animals are reared has been brought literally into the classroom in a number of secondary schools across the country. The Irish Angus Producer group chose five schools to take part in the competition whereby the schools were given young Angus calves & it was up to the students to rear thoses animals to beef & present a project about the process as part of their Leaving Cert Agricultural Science studies. Winners Eithne Murray, Tara Frehill, Emily Browne & Shauna Jagar from Our Lady’s School in Terenure in Dublin.
Lisdoonvarna - Brenda O'Donohue
Every September since the 1880’s single people looking for love have flocked to the Lisdoonvarna’s Matching Making Festival. Local man, Dermot Petty, captures the adventures of the festival in his play titled ‘Jiving Lessons for the Broken Hearted’. The play has it’s World Premiere in the Royal Spa Hotel in Lisdoonvarna tonight. Brenda Donohue hot stepped it down to Lisdoonvarna for the dress rehearsal.
John 'The Bull' Hayes
It is ten years since the historic meeting between Ireland & England in the Six Nations in Croke Park. The events of the game were relived in a documentary on RTE this week & joining Damien on the line this morning is John Hayes.
New Chocolate flavoured drink Temple Dairy
What do you do when your career as a professional soccer player comes to an end? Marie Curtain faced that dilemma after a sports career with Ireland Women's National Team from 2000 to 2012 ended. Marie returned home to Limerick & joined forces with her dad Sean, a retired dairy farmer & developed a new chocolate flavoured milk drink called Temple Dairy. Brenda O'Donohue went to the family farm in Athlacca, Co Limerick.
Cheltenham - Dessie Scahill, Suzanne Campbell & Peadar O'Scannell
Its Cheltenham time & a great opportunity to speak to one of the most identifiable voices in sports commentary, Dessie Scahill. Each year around 150 horses travel over from Ireland along tp the Cheltenham festival along with thousands of punters. Peadar remains in studio & our reporter Suzanne Campbell is also here. Suzanne visited some of the trainer's yards this week to see some of the hopefuls.
Busy time of year on farms
Well it is a very busy time of year on farms, particularly livestock farms as this is the time of year when most calves & lambs are born & so a busy time for vets tending to births & sick newborns. Included among them is Peadar O'Scannell who joins Damien in studio this morning.
First, Damien speaks to egg producer Thomas Fitzsimons in Virginia County Cavan. The compulsory housing of all commercial flocks & backyard flocks remains in place until April 30th. From next week egg & poultry meat sold as Free Range will now have to sticker 'Barn reared or Barn Eggs, laid by hens temporarily housed for their welfare'. Maybe supermarkets or the IFA might design posters as well informing consumers of the change.
Isla Grant - chat & performance
Earlier this week Scottish country & music singer, Isla Grant called in for a chat & performance, a break in her very busy tour of Ireland & Canada.
Irish Trade - Suzanne Campbell
Today sees the start of a large Irish trade mission to the Gulf states which has its centrepiece Irish food. Finding new markets is more important than ever as Britain edges towards closer ties with US agricultural imports. Suzanne Campbell went to London this week to hear about consumer attitudes there, food safety & the impact it will have to Irish food & farming.
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