• ANY DECISION on genetically modified crops is always controversial.

  • IT WAS no surprise that an Irish farm commissioner would choose a conference in Dublin to come out fighting for farmers - but if he turns what he said into action, Phil Hogan will go down as a politician that understands farmers.

  • IT IS one of the harsh realities of life that it seems an increasingly short time from writing what a New Year will bring, until it is round again - this time last year all the talk was of the detail of CAP reform.

  • AS A year, 2014 will be remembered by farmers for both good and bad - the weather was kind, but it brought a big reversal in financial fortunes, underlining that volatility is a problem the industry will have to tackle if it is to move out of boom and bust cycles.

  • THIS IS the season when we should be banishing pessimism.

  • IT MIGHT be another European Commission fudge, but it now seems that the CAP crisis reserve for 2015 has been left intact.

  • IT MIGHT be cold comfort that the European Commission has made it official, but dairy prices fell by 15% over the first six weeks from the imposition of the Russian import ban.

  • IN ONE of those bizarre juxtapositions of events, we all watched spellbound while European space scientists landed a probe on a comet three hundred million miles away - while at the same time the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, was emulating the nineteenth century Luddites who destroyed machinery because it threatened their jobs.

  • THE EUROPEAN Commission is not known for good management of its finances - hence the reason its auditors have not been able to sign off its accounts for 19 successive years.

  • THE NEW farm commissioner, Phil Hogan, had barely got his feet under his desk in Brussels before the Irish Farmers Association was setting out what it expected, and to be fair it has a reasonable case.