20 Lakeland milk producers have recently been undertaking a labour-management course over the past four weeks.

The course was led by Dr. Nollaig Heffernan with the assistance of co-ordinators from the Lakeland Dairies / Teagasc Joint Programme and representatives from the Workplace Relations Commission.

The course comes after it was identified in a recent survey that just over one-third of Lakeland milk suppliers currently employ staff on their farms, and of these, 8% employ staff on a full-time basis and 28% on a part-time basis.

Commenting on the course, Eamonn Duignan, Lakeland Dairies’ member relations manager, said: “The Lakeland Labour Management Course – in conjunction with Teagasc and Macra Skillnet – covers a range of labour-management issues including how to determine what new skills are required, how to go about hiring staff and the induction process.

Effective communication with employees is essential so that they can understand how the farm works and what is reasonably expected of them.

Duignan outlined: “Bringing in a new employee for the first time does add a further layer into the management of the farm but the benefits of additional labour far outweigh the possible stress of ‘going it alone’ which can constrain the progress and success of a growing farm.

Half of all Lakeland milk suppliers have said a successor has been identified to take over their dairy business.

The majority of successors (80%) are all under 35 years-of-age and have already received training ranging from the Green Cert to a degree in agriculture.

The course comes as a follow up to Lakeland and Macra’s new Land Mobility Programme.

This initiative aims to help all types of farmers, farm families, new entrants and land owners to consider their options for collaborative arrangements.

The programme is working to facilitate workable arrangements throughout the Lakeland Dairies catchment area.