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You’ve got to be tough to farm the Emerald IsleYou’ve got to be tough to farm the Emerald Isle

Slideshow: Take this picture trip through sparsely inhabited rural Ireland.

John Vogel

October 5, 2017

10 Slides

Winds blowing eastward off the Atlantic chill September’s morning air. They carry just enough moisture to warrant a raincoat or umbrella. That’s what keeps Europe’s westernmost isle of Ireland emerald-colored — except where mountainous rock has refused to yield to grass and briars for millions of years.

Topping the last hill and rounding the curve into a small town as far west as one could get from Dublin, we wheeled up to two Irishmen. In Celtic brogue, they asked, “You lost?” They see a lot of that.

“Do we look lost?” I replied. They looked at each other and grinned. “What do you do for a living out here?” I asked. They pointed towards hundreds of sheep on the mountainsides and in stone-walled pastures. Rather than describing my visit there, you’ll have a far better picture of the fabled land of leprechauns, where sheep outnumber humans, with these images.

About the Author(s)

John Vogel

Editor, American Agriculturist

For more than 38 years, John Vogel has been a Farm Progress editor writing for farmers from the Dakota prairies to the Eastern shores. Since 1985, he's been the editor of American Agriculturist – successor of three other Northeast magazines.

Raised on a grain and beef farm, he double-majored in Animal Science and Ag Journalism at Iowa State. His passion for helping farmers and farm management skills led to his family farm's first 209-bushel corn yield average in 1989.

John's personal and professional missions are an integral part of American Agriculturist's mission: To anticipate and explore tomorrow's farming needs and encourage positive change to keep family, profit and pride in farming.

John co-founded Pennsylvania Farm Link, a non-profit dedicated to helping young farmers start farming. It was responsible for creating three innovative state-supported low-interest loan programs and two "Farms for the Future" conferences.

His publications have received countless awards, including the 2000 Folio "Gold Award" for editorial excellence, the 2001 and 2008 National Association of Ag Journalists' Mackiewicz Award, several American Agricultural Editors' "Oscars" plus many ag media awards from the New York State Agricultural Society.

Vogel is a three-time winner of the Northeast Farm Communicators' Farm Communicator of the Year award. He's a National 4-H Foundation Distinguished Alumni and an honorary member of Alpha Zeta, and board member of Christian Farmers Outreach.

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