Farm succession starts way before your agricultural education, according to Tom Curran of Teagasc, who says relationship is key in any farm partnership being a success.

Speaking at a recent Teagasc Dairy Expansion Seminar in Portlaoise, he said that there are two types of farm partnership – family and non-family.

However, he said, there is a much higher proportion of family farm partnerships as it is difficult to build relationships between two parties who do not know each other.

“The relationship between the two parties is the critical thing, if you don’t have that you have a recipe for trouble.”

He also said that succession starts when the young person is on the farm and getting involved into the day to day running of the business.

“When did the interest in agriculture first start? Was it when they finished they agricultural education or when they were brought out to get the cows for milking?”

A farm partnership he says, offers the opportunity for young people to enter farming.

“We want young people in our industry, partnerships have been around since 2002 and they allow young people to farm.”

A farm partnership also allows the family to make the young person responsible for the day-to-day running of the business as the partnership structure gives the next generation the responsibility to develop, so by the time they reach 35 they are already fully fledged, he said.

Family farm partnerships are a gradual transfer and getting young people into farming is critical, Curran said.

“In cases where there is uncertainty over succession the critical decisions required to keep the farm progressing forward are not made.”