In November 2017, Pat Deering TD and chairperson of the Joint Committee on Agriculture released a report on the future of the tillage sector in Ireland. The video below explains the progress or lack of progress following the release of that report.

Almost two years on, very little has been done with regard to the 35 recommendations in that report. As Deering said himself in the interview below – at last week’s National Ploughing Championships – some of the recommendations are now “outdated”.

It’s fairly clear from listening to the Co. Carlow TD below that little has come from the report. There are plans to come back to the report and update the recommendations. Deering seems to be of the opinion that this will be soon.

He expressed disappointment at the inaction following the report and explained that there are many different stages involved in implementing the recommendations in the publication.

Pat added: “There’s progress on all of them [recommendations] in some way or another. Our power is limited enough from an implementation point of view.”

Drinks sector

There was a large focus on the drinks sector and one thing that has changed since the publication of the report is the introduction of the Geographical Indication for Irish whiskey.

The TD was asked if it is right to focus on this sector as a way of securing the future of the tillage sector when there is no requirement to use Irish grain?

We can replace those [products]. We do things very well in Ireland. We need that protection to make sure that we’re not being pushed to one side when these imports come in.

When asked on the importation of animal feed from Mercosur countries Pat stated there was a contradiction in relation to the way this feed is produced.

Feed industry

There was no input into the document from the main end users of grain in this country – the feed industry. Pat stated he was unable to explain why the Irish Grain and Feed Association did not contribute to the piece of work. He added when the report is reviewed in the future “if they have an input to make they will be in before the committee”.

At the time the report was published the creation of a logo to recognise Irish grain was thought to be something that could be implemented quickly.

“The logo was one of the things that we thought could fly very quick.

It’s something that we’re disappointed about that it hasn’t moved on.

“It’s something that got a lot of traction on our committee at the time.”


“The one thing about the next cap is we’re going to have maximum flexibility in Ireland. We’ll have our own strategic policy.

“We should be able to target and develop our policy to suit Ireland and we have specific policies as regards tillage.”