The Farm Relief Services Network is focusing on recruiting new staff in preparation for next spring, the company’s busiest time of year, according to CEO of FRS Networks Peter Byrne.

In 2016, there has been a slight increase in the number of requests for relief services, but Byrne expects next spring to be very busy.

“We are focusing on getting workers for next spring, when farmers will be run off their feet with cows calving and other jobs.

Our busiest time of year will be from January to April or May depending on the weather, but there are a certain amount of farmers who look for assistance all year round.

The FRS Network is looking for full-time or part-time farm workers and milkers, with training and career progression also a possibility.

The majority of the relief staff at FRS Network are also part-time farmers, and may go working with local agricultural contractors once relief requests quieten down, according to Byrne.

With up to 20 offices across the Republic of Ireland and close to 20,000 customers, FRS Network offers a sickness and accident support service to farmers.

Farmers can avail of relief services for general farm work and specialised operations, including milking, hoof care, livestock scanning and de-horning.

The most frequent requests for relief services come from the dairy sector, with requests varying from as little as one evening up to a couple of weeks, the CEO of FRS Network said.

We could receive a request for relief milking services for an evening due to a funeral or for up to 10-12 weeks if a farmer is sick.

“We also get requests from farmers looking for relief services from anywhere from a weekend up to a week or two where a farmer is taking a break or holiday.

“Farmers may choose to go away at this time of year as work quietens down and may only need a worker to be on the farm to feed cattle for a few hours.

“Equally we have customers who have a regular booking with us every week, for relief milking on maybe a Saturday or Sunday which frees up the farmer to do something else,” Byrne said.

Since it was established in 1980, the FRS Network has diversified and now offers services in fencing, homecare, training and job recruitment.