(pic: Oliver Moore, Oisin Murnion, Michelle Gildernew discuss Organics with Altitude)
Sean Martin (Donegal) , Padraig Keogh, Ailish Byrne (Carlow) and Joe condron (Westmeath) all made the trip to Tyrone. There, we met some key people. These included Jim Ross and Dorothy Goldie of the Galloway Society in Scotland.
This proved to be very informative - it was also great to get to meet them without having to travel over to Scotland, which would have been expensive and time consuming.
They told us a lot about Galloway availability in Scotland, and talked us through a range of stock-related issues. We found out, for example, about four organic herds in Scotland and the north of England with potential stock available. We also collected a big bundle of Galloway Society Journals, which is jam packed full of useful information. We will no doubt interact more with the Galloway society, who offered to help facilitate visits to their region to view stock. In due course, it may indeed prove to be useful for ourselves and interested farmers to travel to Scotland to access stock, so their help in this regard will be most welcome.
Oisin Murnion (Tyrone) and Joe Smyth (Antrim) were there at the show; both had excellent Galloway cattle on display. Oisin currently has stock available, while Joe will have soon. Both were very helpful and good with their time - Oisin was in fact the main organiser of the overall event, so his time was precious.
Oisin also facilitated the meeting we had with the DARD minister Michelle Gildernew. This proved to be very fruitful and informative. The Minister and her team were very supportive, and made various suggestions for the Organics with Altitude initiative to establish itself in Northern Ireland. To this end, we also spoke to the Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership, and will interact with this organisation in the weeks ahead.
All in all, a very productive day.