Why 2014 was the year Irish farming hit the skids

In years to come when the history of Irish agriculture is being written, and downturns are being discussed, some will no doubt point to the bad winter of 2012.

More will say the slump started on the day the dairy farmer fell in love with the dreadful Jersey bull.

And more still will highlight the scene from Glenroe, when Miley went tumbling in the hay with Fidelma, as the moment Irish farming lost the plot.

Miley should never have tumbled with Fidelma. Biddy was a fine woman, she still is.

Anyhow, back to my main point of when Irish farming started to keel over.

Well, to my mind, the moment Irish farming really hit the skids was when Garth Brooks was given the heave-ho five years ago.

Yes, when he was told by the Dublin brigade that his multitude of concerts at Croke Park were too much for the Jackeens to stomach.

The rejection of Garth not only hit the big guy himself, but hit us all with a foothold on the land. For Brooks is as country as I am myself, and his concerts would not only have invigorated our pitiful music scene, but they would have put country life and farming back centre stage, where it belongs. And giving us out here in the wilds the confidence we need to keep the head up and strike on.

The rejection of Garth was the last straw, a pitiful moment. Irish agriculture sank that very day, and has yet to resurface with any degree of promise.

If Garth had performed, it would have been just the medicine we needed, particularly in beef farming.

Driven on by his lyrics, we would have recalled those crazy days of ’97, when last he played here. Back then, the suckler farmer was making an ocean of money for each and every weanling he sold. £1,000 a head was a baseline. Anything less would be seen as a insult.

Those were the days of line dancing. A time when everyone went crazy for the country boy. We had a girl on every arm. A drink in every hand. A cap on every head.

Back then, everybody wanted to be a farmer. Nowadays, not even farmers want to be farmers. The castigation of Brooks, was a slap in the face to us all.

And the only way I can see any hope of resuscitating farming is for Brooks to return.

Garth, you still have friends in low places, plenty of us. Today, I am making a bold call asking Garth Brooks to come back, to give us the boost we so desperately need.

Concert promoters, listen up, you have plenty of time to arrange a bit of a show this very summer.

Bob Geldof organised Live Aid in a matter of minutes. We have the guts of two months yet before the summer sun is at its highest.

With banks turning into vultures, we need a man like Garth to kick the vultures where only a cowboy can.

And don’t be concerned about the availability of Croke Park. Forget about it.

I have a farm here in west Cork made for such an event.

My field down by the river at Cobblers Cross would be ideal in every conceivable way.

He can perform at Cobblers Cross for three solid months if he so wishes.

And I, like Lord Henry Mountcharles up there in Slane, will kick-back, welcome the throng, and enjoy the spectacle it surely will be.

So, with a venue ready, and no-one to make a fuss over times and dates, all we need now is you, Garth.

Garth, it’s time to hear the Thunder Roll.

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