The Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) will hold its 2022 conference today (Wednesday, December 7) on the theme of “farm contractors in responsibility crisis”.

The FCI 2022 Conference will take place at the Heritage Hotel, Killenard, Co. Laois and is scheduled to run from 2:00p.m to 6:00p.m.

The FCI said that its conference will provide farm contractors with a clearer understanding of their roles and responsibilities in a changing agricultural sector, and against the backdrop of increasing regulation.

The association said that the role of farm contactors in achieving the government’s environmental targets “has never been more vital”.

“Farm contractors are the most important Irish farming partnership group, providing machinery services to 137,000 Irish farms in a business that is valued annually at over €800 million,” the FCI said.

According to the group, contractors need to understand their responsibilities in supporting farming to achieve these environmental targets.

Conference topics

Topics that will be covered at the event will include changes to the Nitrates Action Programme (NAP); water abstraction regulations; and the proposed new fertiliser database.

The conference will also include presentations on contractor opportunities on Teagasc machinery sharing proposals. The event will also see the launch of a new farm contractor costing app.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, FCI national chairperson John Hughes said: “The FCI Conference will provide farm contractors with a unique information opportunity tailored to meet their specific needs.

“We are now at an opportune time to show that our FCI farm contractors can provide farmers with the best practices and the best technology in the fields.”

According to Hughes, supporting farm contactors will deliver better use of state funding against the background of recent European Commission advice that “member states should use all available measures to increase efficiency of fertiliser use”.

The FCI chair added: “There is no need for farmers to invest in new technology to achieve lower emission targets. The environment crisis can’t wait for farmers to buy new equipment. We need to use the best machines that we have today and they are in FCI farm contractor fleets.”