Can we save the Irish family farm? We talk to author Ryan Dennis

Ryan Dennis 001

Agridirect discusses the future of Irish farming with author Ryan Dennis.

Ryan Dennis, author of new agricultural novel The Beasts They Turned Away, hails from a farming family in upstate New York. Long before he was a published writer, Ryan learned how to manage a dairy herd. In his own words, “I am the 4th generation in my family to milk cows”.

It is also likely that his will be the last generation of the family to work the milk parlour. The Dennis family stopped milking cows in 2014, at a point when farm gate prices had cratered so badly that “500 cow dairies weren’t breaking even”. It was the inevitable outcome of decades of productionist agricultural policy that has decimated the family farm in the United States. Continue reading “Can we save the Irish family farm? We talk to author Ryan Dennis”

Why do fences fall apart? We ask a retired fencing contractor

Micheál Geoghegan 001

Retired fencing contractor Micheál Geoghegan from Aghacashel, Co. Leitrim. Micheál worked as a fencing contractor for 30 years. He is pictured on his farm with his dog, Dasher.

Spring is fencing season. Here at Agridirect, we sat down for a conversation with Micheál Geoghegan, a retired fencing contractor from Aghacashel, Co. Leitrim. In this interview, Micheál offers some top fencing tips for farmers. 


Agridirect interviewer: I

Micheál Geoghegan: MG


I: Micheál, we’re just coming into April, so a lot of farmers in this part of the country are putting animals onto pasture. It’s the time of year when you see a lot of sheep and cattle on the road. The more adventurous animals will always test a fence for sweeter or thicker grass. In your experience, what are the most common mistakes that people make when putting up a fence?

MG: Most fences come apart because the straining posts aren’t secured properly.

When corner strainers aren’t tied back and propped correctly, they will come loose. That collapses the fence. The whole thing just falls apart. The same applies to any posts on bends in the fence, any posts that are taking a sideways pull. If those aren’t secured against the pull, they’ll snap very quickly. Your strainers and corner posts are the bones of your fence. They have to be rock solid if you want a fence to last. Continue reading “Why do fences fall apart? We ask a retired fencing contractor”