‘Dairy farm partnerships must benefit all parties involved’

Share farming and partnerships must benefit all parties involved, according to Pat Ryan of Capital Farms.

Speaking at a recent Irish Farm Managers Association Forum in the Horse and Jockey, the Co. Waterford farmer discussed how establishing a farm partnership impacted on his farm business.

According to Ryan, the partnership on his farm was first established 10 years ago to offset some of the constraints of quota but he quickly realised that there were benefits to be gained from a successful partnership.

Ryan is currently milking 300 cows on the home farm and is also involved in a number of partnerships which brings the total number of cows to 450.

“I started a milk production partnership 10 years ago due to quota constraints, but I soon discovered that two and two adds up to more than four.

“During that period I was looking from the other side of the fence as a farmer looking to take on workers or share milkers.

The concept of a farm partnership is important and the sum of the parts may be greater than expected, but you must be prepared to work with others.

Ryan added that trust is one of the most important factors needed to have a successful farm partnership.

“Trust is hugely important in a relationship, can you or would you want to work with other people in your business?”

However, some farmers may find the idea of partnerships difficult as they may not be prepared to work with others and may fear losing independent control of the farm business, he said.

According to Ryan, positivity is also an important factor in a successful farm partnership

Positive and negative emotions cannot occupy the mind at the same time. One or the other must dominate. Positivity is hugely important, not focusing in negativity.

Farm skills and personality traits also play an important role, he added, but these skills can be developed once the individual knows they need to be worked on.

Further to the desired farm skills and personality traits a business mind and planning is also important.

Young farmers considering a future in either a share farming or partnership arrangement should always look at the bigger picture.

“You have to start off with the bigger picture, where do you want to be in 10-20 years.

Write it down and work back, have a monthly, quarterly and yearly plan. This will allow for a career to be built on solid foundations.

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