The IFA’s Bert Stewart and ICSA’s Malcolm Thompson are two of the speakers that will be speaking at the upcoming Farming¬†in Peripheral Areas conference.

The conference, hosted by Midlands North West MEP Matt Carthy, takes place on November 6, 2015 in the Mulroy Woods Hotel in Donegal.

Speaking in advance of the event, Carthy said that the event aims to explore a very important aspect of Irish agriculture.

“The conference will be addressed by both Irish and international speakers and aims to explore the challenges faced by farmers in peripheral areas,” he said.

Along with Stewart and Thompson, the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association’s (INHFA) Henry O’Donnell and John Brennan of the Leitrim Organic Growers Association will speak at the event.

“The conference will also seek to explore alternative EU policy on Agriculture and Rural Development, policies which seek to protect and promote family farms particularly in peripheral areas across the EU,” he said.

Rural development will also be a focus of the discussion dealing with issues such as infrastructure, transport networks and access to services in rural areas.

Seamus Boner of the Arranmore Island Development Co-op is one of the speakers on rural development at the event.

Carthy also said that the conference will draw on the experience of farming organisations and representatives and will feature lively discussions on the issues affecting the farming community as well as drawing from examples of best practice in terms of sustainable farming and rural development.

“Many small farmers feel that the European Union has largely ignored their needs and undermined the future of the small family farm and rural communities.

They feel isolated and let down by those who claim to represent them and many question their future in farming.

“I hope that this conference will spark a much-needed discussion on the needs and challenges faced by farmers in marginal areas and will help inform policymakers of the need to ensure that the family farm is protected through sustainable policy initiatives.

“I would like to invite all farmers, members of the local community and members of representative organisations to the conference and I look forward to an interesting and lively discussion,” Carthy said.