Productively utilizing hitherto idle uplands and
mountain slopes is an urgent challenge for Asian agriculture as populations burgeon and
lowlands no longer are capable of growing sufficient food. Especially is this true in the
Republic of Korea where only 22 percent of the land surface is cultivated.
Making these uplands produce food demands a type of farming new to most of Asia,
accustomed to emphasis upon cultivation of rice and other grains. The predicament is acute
in localities like Cheju Island, where a volcanic rock formation allows all rainfall
immediately to seep down and prevents irrigation. On these slopes livestock do best with
improved grasses and legumes.
When Father McGLINCHEY arrived on Cheju in 1953, just as the destructive Korean War was
ending, he found "farmers extremely poor, yet basically very talented, while 50,000
hectares of land lay idle." He took heart from what he had seen accomplished with
sound livestock management when he had accompanied his veterinarian father around
similarly poor agricultural areas at home in Ireland.
Upon completion of his language study in 1955, McGLINCHEY started his first pilot
projectsteaching farmers improved hog raising. Founding the Isidore Development
Association, he secured U.S. Public Law 480 corn through the Catholic Relief Services and
built a feed mill that became the focus for other community development efforts. More than
77,000 hogs have been sold profitably since then, including about 1,000 exported monthly
A Central Training Farm of some 1,000 hectares is the model for total livestock
development. From New Zealand have come the breeding stock for a flock of sheep, now
numbering 1,600, and also grasses making pastureland five times more productive than with
native varieties. Hereford cattle from Australia are raised successfully and crossbred
with native stock. To resist the devastating typhoons that periodically lash Cheju,
McGLINCHEY constructed buildings on the principle of the ancient, vaulted Ctesiphon arch
Today the Isidore Development Association is cooperating with 300 farm families to upgrade
their cattle and hog raising. Abandoning his earlier lecture-type training courses as
ineffective, McGLINCHEY has 78 trainees at one time living and working on the farm for 6
to 12 months. Upon returning to their villages, they are eligible to borrow one-half of
the capital needed to buy sows or breeding cows from the credit cooperatives that have
This program offering practical benefit to farmers attracted private relief assistance
from Germany, England, New Zealand, and Ireland for acquiring tractors and other
equipment, breeding stock and for building plastic-lined reservoirs. Volunteers have come
from Scotland, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, each to contribute his special skills;
with the "crazy, redheaded foreigner" they are giving hope to fellow farmers on
bleak Cheju Island.
In electing Father PATRICK JAMES McGLINCHEY to receive the 1975 Ramon Magsaysay Award for
International Understanding, the Board of Trustees recognizes his mobilizing international
support and foreign volunteers to modernize livestock farming in his adopted country.