The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has welcomed a move by Teagasc to offer training in farm safety to female farmers.

The new Farm Safety and Assurance module Level 5 course will be offered by Mountbellew Agricultural College in Co. Galway.

The first round of the course will be delivered specifically for women in the agri-sector.

According to Alice Doyle, the IFA’s Farm Family and Social Affairs chairperson, the launch of the module “recognises the important contribution of female farmers and their role in preventing farm accidents and hazards”.

“IFA fully supports initiatives which focus on female participation and helps to support and promote gender equality in farming,” Doyle added.

She noted that the module will cover safe tractor operations; food assurance and traceability; and animal health and welfare.

Particular emphasis will be placed on the safe execution of common farm operations including tractor use; combinations of tractors and loaders or tractors and trailers; and attaching a mounted power take off (PTO)-driven machine.

Teagasc has said that there will be a capacity of 15 students/group for the course, which is due to start next month.

Teagasc is planning to rollout the training module nationwide at a later date.

The new course was recently launched at the Co. Galway college by MEP Maria Walsh.

“This is an incredibly important time for our farming sector and it is fundamentally important to upskill and reskill,” Walsh said.

“The power of knowledge in operating and handling machinery, as well as growing awareness around safety, is vital.

“This course has come at a crucial time and adds to the call for more recognition, funding and support for our female farmers,” the MEP added.

Dr. Anne Marie Butler, head of education at Teagasc, commented: “We are delighted to work with female participants on this intake and we look forward to offering this component across our education network.”