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Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a fifth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the company in 2015.
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Macra na Feirme: Presidential election candidates – what you need to know

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Macra na Feirme’s 38th presidential election race is underway, with the organisation to select a new president on April 7th, 2021.

Tipperary natives, Daniel Long and John Keane, have thrown their hats into the ring for the position.

Macra election 2021 – Daniel Long

Firstly, Daniel Long, a farmer and farm labourer, joined the rural youth organisation in 2014.

He says he was “active” in the Rathkeevin club’s revitalising “when it went dormant and went from no members to over 20 in a year and still strong to this day”.

At club level, he has held the positions of secretary, PRO, young farmer chair and county delegate.

Highlights in Macra to date:
  • Playing the charity Gaelic football match in Croke Park in 2017;
  • Reaching the final of farm skills in 2020;
  • Involved in setting up a vibrant young farmers discussion group with over 100 members;
  • Helped in raising vital funds for charities such as the family carers and Csaw.

Long is involved in his community as a life-long member of his local GAA and soccer club. Furthermore, he volunteers with Clonmel Show and Clonmel Family Carers annually.

Previously, he worked with the Roscommon Leader partnership to provide IT training to farmers in the local area. The south Tipperary native has volunteered to help any Macra clubs/regions in the fencing element of farm skills.

His vision for the organisation

In the election booklet, Long, stated: “My ambition, if elected president, is to be a president for the grassroot members, who they feel they can come to with any issues they may face for Macra to address.”

“All outlined above are only words, which anyone can say. However, I intend to lead by example, starting with taking no expenses and reinvesting those funds into underdeveloped areas and provide detailed accounts each month of work done outlining success and failure to look to improve on the following month.”

“At the end of my term, I want to have laid foundations for my future successors to prosper further,” he concluded.

Campaign issues:
  • Membership costs vs value for money;
  • Mental health challenges;
  • Reform of national committees;
  • Reconnect and engage with inactive members;
  • Provide a strong voice that reflects the voice of grassroot members;
  • Grow membership base to include young people from outside the agricultural community;
  • Reduce the “red tape associated within the organisation”;
  • Provide a strong lobbying voice for members across a range of issues.
Macra election 2021 – John Keane

The North Tipperary native is a full-time beef and dairy farmer.

He is a member of Devil Bit’s Macra and, in 2016, was the organisation’s toughest club secretary. He previously held the positions of club chair, vice-chair, and treasurer.

At county level, he previously served as a young farmer development officer, is co-founder of Make The Moove, and was a natural council representative.

At national level, he was an agricultural affairs member, agricultural affairs chairperson, board member, board vice-chairperson and board chairperson. Other involvements include beef/dairy police working group and board sub-committees.

He has competed in “all competitions”, include 5-a-side soccer, national 7-a-side hurling, national 7-a-side tag rugby and a national leadership award.

In his community, he is a member/player for Rathdowney/Erril GAA and delivers rural mental health training.

Campaign policies:

In the election booklet, Keane said: “With the support of clubs/regions, national council, board, and our staff, I believe we can make significant progress.”

He said active membership is “the cornerstone of our organisation” as he suggested the following:

  • Targeted recruitment campaigns specific to clubs/regions;
  • Development of a continuous training framework for volunteerism for members;
  • Communicating message clearer and more effectively;
  • Championing of members and their experiences within the organisation.
Mental health:

“Continue the work we started with Make The Moove with our ambition to develop a national rural mental health service, supported by our internal policy forums.”
Policy formulation:

“Having been at the forefront of policy development, I will continue to drive on policy development across all policy committees.”

  • Delivery of policy training;
  • Continue policy formulation across key areas;
  • Growth in lobby activity;
  • Regional hubs for policy brainstorming.

Competitions

“The response of our competitions committee in the face of the pandemic has been exemplary.”

“I believe that we have an opportunity to further develop, including the continuation of reviewing our existing competitions but also to trial and develop additional ones.”

  • Establishment of a patrons advisory committee;
  • Establishment of a members working group with direct reporting to the board;
  • Creation of pathways from other youth organisations;
  • Assess internal structures and interaction of same.
‘Strong voice and tough representative’  

“We have many challenges, but we have always responded through our history, and we, our generation, will not be found wanting.”
“I will, as I have done so over the past number of years, be a strong voice and tough representative of Macra Na Feirme.”

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