FARMER Jer Bergin, from just over the Kilkerny border in co Laois has announced that he will be a candidate in the election for the presidency of the 88,000 member Irish Farmers Association (IFA), which will take place at the end of 2013.
Mr Bergin, who runs a suckler beef, tillage and sheep farm at Ballacolla, has more than 20 years involvement with the IFA at branch, county, regional and national level. He is currently the IFA Leinster vice-president and also chairs the association’s climate change and renewables project team and its roads project team. He is a former vice-chairman of the IFA national livestock committee and has served on the IFA national council for 13 of the past 15 years. He has held a range of key positions at local level including that of Laois county chairman. Announcing his candidacy at the annual general meeting of Laois IFA last week, Jer Bergin said he has been approached by a large number of IFA members and branches to put his name forward.
“I am encouraged by the level of support I have received from all parts of the country and I am confident my track record over the past two decades will be acknowledged by IFA members in the forthcoming election,” he said.
Regarded as one of IFA’s leading negotiators, Jer Bergin led the successful IFA opposition to the last government’s climate change legislation. He secured compensation for malting barley growers and is the leader of the IFA team involved in securing adequate compensated for loss of land and income due to the development of the roads, rail, gas, electricity and wind energy infrastructures. He was a leader of the IFA’s high profile beef blockade in 2000 and is now a key member of the IFA negotiating team on CAP reform.
Before joining IFA, Jer Bergin was actively involved in Macra na Feirme. An accomplished public speaker, he participated in the Macra All-Ireland debating finals and in the national stock-judging finals. He has represented IFA on the board of Farmer Business Developments plc, the largest shareholder in FBD, and was a member of the board of Agri Aware. He also holds the distinction of being one of the first Nuffield Scholars in Ireland. In 1999, he was supported by the Nuffield Foundation to study key aspects of farming and food production in the UK, France, Italy, Australia and the United States.