The current Green Cert does not equip people with enough skill to become successful farmers and needs to be changed, according to the Chairman of the Irish Farm Managers Association (IFMA).

John Fitzgerald said that it is widely accepted that farming is a complex career and the education of young people that enter this industry needs to reflect this fact.

“Teagasc research has shown educated people run more profitable farms. The industry must increase the number of people studying to farm and improve the education they get.”

He also said that there is widespread concern across the dairy industry at the skill level of young people entering the dairy industry.

“The IFMA has consulted widely with the dairy industry in preparing this document including, Dairygold, Glanbia, Kerry and Aurivo Co-op.

He said that the key aspect of profitable and sustainable dairy farming right across the world is the capability of people.

“For Ireland to realise the potential of quota removal we must have an education and training programme which produces enough highly skilled and capable people. The best course to build this capability is the Professional Diploma in Dairy Farm Management (PDDFM).”

“There are currently 600 students entering Level 5 education in the Agricultural Colleges and a sizeable percentage of these 600 students are there only to get the cert to qualify them for tax benefits or other incentives and will not ever become full time farmers and, so, should be streamed into a curriculum with more of an emphasis on issues such as collaborative farming systems and possibly engage in slightly different placement situations, while those with the genuine interest in full time farming be placed in the appropriate placements for them.”