Contractors ‘the people keeping the wheels of Irish agriculture moving forward’

Kilkenny contractor John Hughes has been elected as the new national chair of the Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) at its annual general meeting (AGM), which was held online recently.

An active member of the FCI National Council for a number of years, nominated by the southeast region, John is a second generation farm contractor – his late father Kevin Hughes began the family farm contracting business back in 1947, according to the FCI.

John, in partnership with his brother Brendan, has operated a mainly tillage-based contractor business at Danville, Kilkenny, for more than 25 years while having worked in farm contracting for over 40 years.

John Hughes, FCI national chair source FCI
John Hughes, FCI national chair

In more recent years, John and Brendan have focused on a tillage contracting service. The brothers provide cultivation, sowing, spraying and combine harvesting services for tillage crops as well as a big square baling service across the Leinster region.

As FCI national chair, John said his aim is to build the membership of FCI, “as without an active membership we will have no association”.

“An active membership is the lifeblood or the association and a strong and committed membership will feed the future development of FCI,” he added.

“As contractors we trade on our reputation for good work based on our skills and ability to provide an efficient and quality service to Irish farming.

“Our most valuable asset is our staff, without their commitment no contracting business can survive,” he added.

As contractors we need to get recognition as the people who drive the tractors early in the morning and late at night, keeping the wheels of Irish agriculture moving forward.

“While the silage harvest is very visible, often many contractors are also working behind the hedges and are not always as visible; they are working long hours to stay ahead of the weather and crop demands.

“As contractors, we need that important role to be duly recognised by government bodies and farm organisations – and that’s just part of what FCI does on an ongoing basis on behalf of all farm and forestry contractors in Ireland,” the chair concluded.