Wednesday, 05 October 2016 14:55

Kiwi experience for new IFA boss

Written by  Peter Burke
IFA boss meets up with a member at the Irish Ploughing Champs. IFA boss meets up with a member at the Irish Ploughing Champs.

Irish Farmers Association president Joe Healy has been in the top job only a few months.

The genial Galway dairy farmer was swept into office in April after a major upheaval and controversy involving his predecessor and the executive and senior staff of the IFA.

He came not from the hierarchy, but from grassroots farming and has been elected to sort out major administrative problems.

Healy runs 100 cows on his 50ha farm at Athenry, a town steeped in Irish history, including the 1916 uprising. He runs a grass-based system with the emphasis on producing milk as cheaply, and as high in protein and fat, as possible.

Because of his new role, the fields of Athenry are something he seldom sees.

Healy’s happiest memories are of 1988, a year he spent in New Zealand – a great experience

“I first worked on a dairy farm in Manaia, South Taranaki, and went from there to Canterbury where I worked on a farm at Hinds, which had border dyke irrigation.”

He also worked on a Putaruru, Waikato, farm and lastly for a drainage contractor in Wellington. “It was the best year of my life – the freedom of it all.”

Back in NZ again in 1996, he represented Ireland in the world sheep shearing championships in Masterton -- another great month, and the Golden Shears an incredible event.

“What is great here in Ireland is that our Ivan Scott recently set a world lamb shearing record,” he says. “A few Kiwis are not too happy about an Irishman taking a world shearing record. He only beat the record by one, but it was a record all the same.”

Healy is a great admirer of NZ rugby but would love to see Ireland beat the All Blacks.

“Unfortunately Brian O’Driscoll failed to in his career – but we are still hoping. We have to play the All Blacks twice in the next two months, but honestly I wouldn’t be putting my money on my team; but then we live in hope.”

• Peter Burke travelled to Ireland courtesy of Enterprise Ireland.

More like this

Managing poo made easy

Irish slurry handling specialist Abbey Machinery is working to get more value from slurry. Business development manager international, Michael O’Grady explains. 

Irish dairy on enviro radar

The expansion of the dairy industry in Ireland is starting to affect the environmental health of the country’s lakes, rivers and estuaries.

Featured

 

Celebrating healthy food

Mark Ross, chief executive of Agcarm on the work that goes into providing safe and healthy food to New Zealanders. 

No more coal-fired boilers

Canterbury-based Synlait Milk has reaffirmed its policy of building no more coal-fired boilers, with the official opening of the country’s first large-scale electrode boiler at its Dunsandel headquarters.

A slice of farming paradise in Auckland City

Livestock grazing on a farm with a good view of Auckland’s Sky Tower is the story behind the latest Dairy Women’s Network visual story telling project Our People, Their Stories.

Synlait unveils tree-planting scheme

Synlait Milk is establishing an industrial-scale native plant nursery at its Dunsandel headquarters as the centrepiece of a wide-ranging environmental initiative.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Appropriate

Your canine crusader reckons it is ironic – and highly appropriate – that Shane Jones’ $3 billion electoral slush fund…

Funny names

Over the years, a mate of the Hound’s has always been quick to point out to him people in roles…

» Connect with Rural News