James Kehoe is a Suckler to Beef, Sheep and Tillage farmer near Enniscorthy, County Wexford. He has been working on his family farm since his mid-teens and at the young age of 41 his enthusiasm for farming is still strong.
James has been heavily involved in the Irish Farmers Association since he joined the organisation in 1996 and in that time, he has held the position of Chairman in his local branch of Monagear from 2005 to 2009. He represented Wexford on the National Sheep Committee where he was also a member of the Management Committee. He was Vice Chairman of Wexford from 2015 – 2016 and he then went on to be elected Chairman of Wexford IFA in 2017.
With his four-year term as Wexford County Chairman nearing an end, he is now currently standing for election as South Leinster Chairman. This post covers eight counties and allows him to represent them on the Board of the IFA. While relatively young in IFA terms, James has a wealth of experience under his belt at this stage. This includes dealing with local farmer issues such as animal welfare, sheep attacks, vulture funds, fair deal and many infrastructure problems with local roads and services in Wexford.
Some of his highlights include being one of the main drivers and negotiators for the IFA during the setting up a Sheep Welfare Scheme which was of huge benefit to Irish Sheep Farmers and the environment. All too often there are reports of major sheep kills and James was instrumental in getting a second Dog Warden employed in the county. This has helped elevate the untold tragedy of unlicensed dogs causing damage and distress, not alone to animals but, to farm families that have to deal with the aftermath.
James dealt with many issues that arose during the construction of the Enniscorthy and New Ross bypasses. This required discussions with TII, BAM and the local county council. These negotiations took a lot of time and energy in order to achieve a favourable outcome for the landowners, but he and his team saw each issue through to completion.
A community highlight each year since James became Chairman in Wexford has been the Live Crib at the Farm Centre in Enniscorthy. Apart from raising nearly €10,000 over the last four years for the Hope Cancer Support Centre and the Irish Pilgrim Trust, the day has become a must attend event for the people of Enniscorthy and surrounding areas.
James has close links with several volunteer organisations in the county, one of which is Awareness Head to Toe, which is a voluntary committee formed to promote mental health, general heath and farm safety awareness throughout the rural community.
Finally, James is deeply passionate about his commitment to helping to create a better life for ALL those involved in farming. He firmly believes that the younger generation needs support and information to tackle the constant challenges of farming. He is determined to be a strong voice protecting farmers who produce the quality food that Ireland is known for.
Should James be elected one of his key priorities would be to hammer home the clear message that,
“Farmers are the solution to the environmental crisis, Not the cause”.
He will be a strong voice against misleading PR and will help promote better renewable schemes. He will be focusing on achievable “REPS” scheme and Farmer Friendly Pillar II Schemes.