A New Year brings new thoughts and hopes. Hopes for better weather than last year, better livestock returns and heavier grass crop for silage and of course, drier and sunnier weather than 2012, which, when you look back, should not be a big ask.

I love this time of year with the newborn calves and lambs. There’s nothing better than being out in the middle off the night to calve a cow, providing all goes well.

We are now seeing the bottom dropping out of the fat lamb trade, with less going for export. With Easter early this year I can’t see costly store lambs that have been bought for grazing over winter making much of a margin this time.

Work has now started on Balmoral Park at Lisburn and we are all looking forward to the new showgrounds and a new era for the RUAS.

With the G8 summit coming to Fermanagh in June, our local council has already started to spruce up the county by tidying up and painting derelict buildings. It is a great chance for Northern Ireland and Fermanagh to show the world and its leaders that, even though we are only a small country, we can produce the best agricultural produce money can buy, using the most environmentally friendly methods possible.

With Southern Ireland holding the European presidency from the first of January for six months, it is very important that all our agricultural bodies lobby for as good a deal on the CAP reforms as possible. I would urge all of them to push the southern government to hold out for this, as farming is the backbone off the country both north and south of the border.

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