For the most part, it has been a good year for Irish agriculture with most farmers looking back on 2022 as a very positive 12-month period.

Yes, input costs increased significantly and the early months of the year were marked by tremendous speculation regarding the actual availability of fertiliser – never mind the prices that would be paid for it.

However, the two bellwether criteria that truly define the prospects for agriculture in this part of the world – the weather and farmgate prices – held up well.

So, is it possible that 2023 could evolve on a similar basis? Only time will tell.

Irish agriculture

Hopefully, one of the legacies from the cost of living crisis that has enveloped the entire world over recent months will be consumers’ sense of the true value that is represented by the food that they eat.

For most of my life, food commodity prices have been on a downward spiral. This trend has been almost totally responsible for putting countless numbers of farm businesses to the wall, not just here but around the world.

Farmers don’t want to see the likes of milk, beef, lamb and cereals become ‘de facto’  luxury items for consumers. But producers do deserve a fair return for the investment they make within their businesses.

So, surely, it’s not too much to expect that retail food prices should be allowed to rise in line with inflation?        

Meanwhile farmers here can look forward to the latest incarnation of the Climate Action Plan.

The scene is now set – the figures are all in, agreed by government

It’s now a case of actually meeting the targets that will constitute farming’s actual response to the challenges that lie ahead.


There is little doubt that 2023 will see real action taken to start reducing the carbon footprint of Irish agriculture.

So yes, the year ahead will be one of significant change for all in farming. But better this than total stagnation, I say.

Also, let’s not forget that the last 12 months have seen food security becoming a core political issue in every country around the world.

A growing global population must be fed. And farmers will be tasked with the challenge of making this happen.

This is a good news story for agriculture across the board and it’s an appropriate note on which to bring this column and the year that’s in it to an end.