There’s a great programme by Jimmy Doherty who’s been looking at the way farmers have been turning their hand to new ways of earning money in one of the UK’s most tightly squeezed industries. There’s the Jimeson’s up near Limavady, who are harvesting top grade turf for lawns. One fascinating snippet though is the fact that agricultural land in Northern Ireland is twice as expensive as anywhere else in the UK. This, he suggests, is because since the land reforms of the 1880s (which brought in the three Fs), families have been reluctant to give up their land. As a result, land is not and never has been a commodity. As a result farming is almost impossible to buy into, and the kinds of big aggregate farms you find elsewhere are simply not a feature of the Ulster landscape. Which even with the demand for food increasing, may have implications for what is and what is not economically sustainable… H/T Ciaran.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty