Cormac MacConnell: I’m investing in frogs’ legs, if I still have a job

I have very good news here today for all thinking farmers everywhere and, even though I may be cutting my own throat editorially by saying so, this good news contrasts sharply.

I’m certain, with the generally Bealbochtian product with which I am surrounded weekly in this supplement.

With all due respect to my esteemed Editor and to the equally learned fellow contributors all around me here every week, I regret that so much of the reportage and analysis is of the Béal Bocht species too often associated with the farming industry — as far as the rest of us are concerned.

Milk has to be sold for less than the production costs, we are told, the beef factories are operating a cartel to keep prices down, EU trade deals invariably carry risks and threats for the Irish industry. The news is always too dark for my taste.

OK, for a welcome change, to my good news. 

It must surely sparkle like a jewel in this space today since it deals with the current availability of a hungry market for all you can produce, high prices, virtually zero production costs at all at all, no labour costs really, an immediate improvement of the status of your farm and ancillary buildings (including even the family home!) and, above and beyond that altogether, the reality that whilst you are making a tidy profit you are also helping mankind by directly probably saving lives.

The pure truth yet again.

Lads and lassies, the answer to all your financial problems associated with milk and beef is to instantly diversify into rat farming, mice farming, and, above all, frog farming. 

Do ye know, this very minute, that the market for young frogs is so buoyant that they are worth over €60 each?

And that is not for culinary use in fancy restaurants either. 

The facts are that the blobs of frog spawn that will appear in the drains along your back fields in just a few months time are worth thousands of euros if you enter the magical organic world of frog farming.

Some of you will think I’ve gone stone mad at last and that my Editor should sack me immediately.

He may well do that but, in the meantime, I will direct his and your attention to a story in The Irish Examiner on Page 3 on July 7 — which was written by the diligent and brilliant reporter Darragh McDonagh to whom we should all genuflect.

Darragh deployed the Freedom of Information Act against the experimental scientists in University College Galway and discovered that last year alone ... and here I am quoting him directly ... “NUI Galway bought 1,997 rats at a total cost of €112,710, 871 mice costing €42,336, 52 frogs for €3,225; and it spent €125 on 240 zebra fish embryos.

“The cost of removing dead animals that had been used in experiments, described by the university as ‘waste disposal’ amounted to €4,296 during 2015.”

Forget the zebra fish but you know and I know that we all live in close proximity to an eternal population of rats, mice, and frogs, that are clearly worth fortunes on the market.

And UCG is one of the smallest of our universities. I would be prepared to bet that the energetic scientists in UCC and Trinity, for example, being highly competitive folk, are probably today paying up to €70 per frog, and the Lord knows what for rats and mice.

I was at one stage an external lecturer in UCG, and I have contacts there still.

I checked this week and discovered through the back door, if you like, that the experimental scientists, normally forced to deal with albino lab rats and mice, would love to lay hands on lively brown and black Kerry and Tipperary rats and mice whose genetic structures more closely resemble ours and, accordingly, be much more likely to benefit the experiments involved for the good of mankind.

A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse. I don’t need to say any more to those amongst you who know well how to supply all markets with what they require. 

Go to it ASAP and, after your first sale, it would be right and fitting to raise your thankful glass to Darragh McDonagh and maybe myself as well.

Perhaps I will be here again next week. 

It depends on my Editor’s mood today…


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