Wexford farm Teagasc event to address key farming issues

“Take a night or two off, meet people, find a hobby, and if something is bothering you, chat to someone.” That is the message from Martina Harrington, dry stock advisor with Teagasc, Wexford.

Teagasc is organising a Knowledge Transfer approved event aimed at beef and sheep farmers, in Ferns, Enniscorthy, on Thursday August 24 from 2:00 to 5:30pm

The main focus of the day is how to pass the Bord Bia audit, and staying safe and legal on the country’s roads – while towing a trailer.

However, in a departure from the normal Teagasc event, this gathering – on the farm of Harry and Amanda Murphy, Ballamon – will also highlight farmer health, safety and well-being.

“The first stop will be with Teagasc and Bord Bia staff, outlining the new Quality Assurance scheme launched earlier this year. There will be a specific focus on the three main areas that farmers are having difficulty with when it comes to the audit, and how these can be simply corrected,” Harrington said.

“There will be four auditors on hand from Bord Bia, giving presentations. They will be available afterwards to answer queries and discuss the issues they are having on inspection.

“The next section of the event will concentrate on the new RSA rules. Garda Brendan Condon and Garda Adrian Nevin from the Garda Traffic Corps will deal with road safety. They will cover legal requirements regarding: agricultural vehicles; the new RSA standards for towing trailers; and licencing requirements,” said the Teagasc advisor.

Back in the farmyard, alongside the locally-sourced food served, there will be short talks from Linda Thorpe of Mental Health Ireland on how to maintain a healthy body and mind.

We are dealing with farmers every day, and it has become a more solitary life. In many cases, wives are working off-farm and children are at school, so they don’t see anyone from one end of the day to the other.

“There are more pressures, with lots of rules and regulations, and money worries. Farmers chat to us, saying how hard it is to get help and to get everything done. In some cases, a lot of jobs are left until the weekend, and they end up very tired by the time it gets to 7:00pm or 8:00pm. The days are so long, whereas most people go to work from 9:00am to 5:00pm,” Harrington said.

“We are saying to farmers that they should take a night or two off, and go out and meet people, whether it is social dancing, for a bit of exercise, or taking up drama, cycling, running or volunteering with the local GAA club,” she said.

Some people mightn’t even have identified that they feel isolated. Maybe they don’t do anything outside the farm, and things build up for them.

“Our message is that by talking to friends and family, many problems can be shared, and solutions found. It is also that farmers need to make time for themselves.

“It is about taking that first step. It doesn’t matter if you go to social dancing and you’ve two left feet, you’re out meeting people,” Harrington said.

At the event, Declan Flanagan from Castlebridge will have a dance floor at the ready – for those who want to try out a jive or a quickstep. Local clubs and societies will also be seeking new members.

Garaghy’s pharmacy has donated the services of its team to check blood pressure and cholesterol. The dietitian/nutritionist duo, Arthur Dunne and Niamh Roche, will offer advice on healthy eating.

Wexford IFA will highlight, through interactive games and colouring, to any children present the dangers that lurk in farmyards.

The general topic of farm safety will come under the spotlight, with tips provided on making farmyards safer, and labour and time-saving techniques shared.

Quad safety will also be addressed. Quadventure from Clonroche, will host safety demonstrations on how to handle a quad properly.

Herd Watch will also be present to demonstrate its computer package.

All are welcome to the event.