With Christmas upon us, looking back, 2022 has been a mix of challenges and opportunities for Irish agriculture as a whole.

Just when we thought we were out of the woods after a global pandemic changed our way of living for a lengthy period of time, geopolitical tensions cast uncertainty over the future yet again.

The start of 2022 was mired by the looming fear and uncertainty that resulted from Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Immediately markets responded and supply chains were threatened.

But if Covid-19 and war in Europe have highlighted anything over these past 9-12 months, it is the importance of food security.

Food security

Food security sounds like a term that might be used in the Pentagon in the United States to refer to some covert operation involving spies and international diplomacy.

But it’s really quite simple. We are humans and we cannot survive on this planet without food/nutrition, so food security means ensuring we keep producing enough food to keep every human alive.

With a growing global population, this need to ensure we have enough food is becoming ever more acute and farming is at the heart of it, after all, who makes the food? Farmers.

I would like to think, or at least hope, that there is a growing appreciation for the hard work that farmers engage in, day-in, day-out, 365 days a year, to ensure there is produce in shops and food on our tables.

We are in a cost of living crisis and the cost of those products on the kitchen table may have risen since this time last year, but that’s because the cost to farmers to get those products to our table has also risen.

Surely we can’t expect our pound of butter, or bag of carrots, or sirloin steak to remain at the same price as previously, even though we know farmers’ electricity bills have increased (as they have for all of us), the cost of fertiliser hit astronomical levels at times and tabs are growing even bigger at the local merchant store.


Irish agriculture has come in for a lot of flack in terms of emissions over the past year also as we place laser focus on the future of our planet.

While I don’t believe most people in agriculture are burying their heads in the sand, some of the flack may have been unwarranted.

The generations of farmers coming up now are acutely aware of our obligations to protect the environment and it is evident from research within the likes of Teagasc, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and other agencies that innovative solutions are being sought on an ongoing basis.

I do wonder about the approach being taken in order to establish a sea change in how agriculture operates, is it a case of the carrot or the stick?

I believe the government has a responsibility to support farmers to ‘do the right thing’ especially when new methods and technologies are going to accrue a cost on the farm family.

Funding needs to be provided in a realistic and quantifiable way to support agriculture to keep producing food to feed the world but in the most sustainable way possible.


This Christmas, if you are sitting with your family eating a roasted turkey with a side of ham, or even enjoying a mushroom bake, perhaps give a thought to the person or family who worked hard to make sure that the food made it to your table.

If you are lucky enough to have family to spend the Christmas season with, enjoy it and stay healthy and safe.

However, there are many people who may find themselves alone this Christmas and dread the looming few days. Please check in on elderly or vulnerable neighbours and friends over the festive period. A cup of tea and a chat can go a long way.

For others, Christmas can be a time of sadness and grief, with an empty chair at the dinner table. So take care of each other and take a break, as we all know farming is a 365-day-a-year job and let’s admit… you deserve a rest!

We at Agriland are looking forward to an exciting year ahead in 2023, with innovative new plans for the digital platform and a host of new ways to provide news on agriculture to you, our valued audience, so stay tuned!

Happy Christmas and all the best in 2023 from all the team at Agriland Media Group.

Stella Meehan