Farming is very much part of the culture of Northern Ireland. Most of us have some connection to someone involved in farming. There is often much hilarity at yokles and other mildly derogatory comments. I confess to a certain wry amusement when some of my assorted in laws all complain about the poverty that farmers face. Farming has, however, suffered a massive financial crisis which has now lasted for many years and has resulted in many having to have additional jobs outside the farm. This pressure has, however, begun to ease a little, more recently. However, the average age of farmers is now 57 and incomes will have to rise considerably in order to persuade more sons (and daughters) to stay on the farm as well as attract new farmers.

One other thing which has not changed is the relative dangerousness of farming. A farmer was killed by a bull on Friday and there have been a number of such tragedies in the recent past. Farming remains a dangerous occupation and if some of the recent increases in food prices results in better incomes for local farmers maybe we should not be too annoyed.