Representation and CAP key for Macra president-elect

Incoming president of Macra na Feirme Thomas Duffy has outlined what his immediate priorities are upon beginning his term.

Speaking to AgriLand following the latest in a series of presidential and vice presidential hustings on Wednesday evening (March 20), the Cavan native highlighted the key topic on everyone’s mind: The UK’s looming departure from the EU.


Duffy called for better representation on Brexit and ensuring that young farmers “get the proper supports, whether it be EU or national funds, in order deal with the immediate problems of potential no-deal”.

“It’s already negatively impacting farmers; we know that,” the president-elect said.

“The insecurity is absolutely destroying the market for some products, and some products which aren’t even being talked about enough – mushrooms, pork and, in particular because I live around the border, issues surrounding pig production, poultry production and egg production.

Obviously our biggest impacted sector will be beef; it’s easily the biggest impact – but all the sectors will suffer from it.

Aside from Brexit, Duffy aims to ensure that Macra has proper representation in the CAP reforms that are coming down the line.


“Macra has a very strong consultation process which has gone on for the next reform; we have a history of being very strong.

“Our suggestions on generational renewal were very well taken up,” he said.

“We had great support from the commission, which included an original Macra idea of the land mobility service and the idea of rolling it out to other countries.

So that is something that we want to continue to build on – our strength and our work with CEJA, the European young farmers.

Other key topics underlined by the incoming Macra president include climate change and environmental issues coming down the line.

Climate change

“Climate change is quite a key issue for me and environmental issues; and ensuring that farmers are enabled to make the changes that need to be made.

“Improve the technology and improve their efficiencies without ridiculous ideas of unsustainable changes which are just not possible with our climate and with our soils,” he said.

During the hustings event on Wednesday, Duffy was asked to list a rough SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of the young farmer and rural youth organisation as it currently stands.

In his response he outlined that Macra’s strength is its members and the drive they have to progress the association; the weakness facing the organisation, he said, is the growing isolation and apathy of rural youth today.

On opportunities he said that there are certainly a lot but none are easy; however, modernising farmers is one such opportunity.

Finally, on threats he said the messaging around agriculture, particularly online and on social media is a major threat, citing misinformation being pushed from some quarters on Twitter as a prime example.