A crowd of over 200 are attending today’s national collaborative farming conference in Clonmel.

Opening the conference today Fintan Phelan, Head, Teagasc Farm Management and Rural Development said: “Farming is not only a technical or income-generating activity. Farming is a social rich practice and a way of life. Farmers have always traditionally been dependent on working with each other.”

In his presentation, on the necessity for increased collaboration on Irish farms, he also noted: “Irish farm structures have for some time been deficient in terms of age profile, farm size and skill set. In 2010 the age profile of Irish farmers was 55 years and only 6.2% of all farmers were under 35 years.”

He stressed that these deficiencies pose a threat to farm viability and limit the options for taking advantage of the many growth opportunities to 2020.

For Teagasc, greater use of collaborative farming arrangements can help redress the current deficits and help deliver on the ambitious targets in Food Harvest 2020.

Teagasc is hosting today’s conference to highlight how farmers can work together to their mutual benefit. The types of collaborative farming arrangements to be covered at this conference will include registered farm partnerships, contract rearing, dairy and other types of share farming.

These collaborative arrangements provide real solutions to current issues on Irish farms including; skilled labour availability, reduced capital investment, improved lifestyle, increased scale and efficiency. All of which can lead to more profitable farming and a better work life balance.

Conference highlights will include:
  • 25% top-up payment for young farmers and other special CAP measures for farmers in partnerships
  • New farm partnership register
  • Migration of existing partnerships to the new farm partnership register
  • Developments on a new dairy share farming model for Ireland