IFMA calls for ag education re-think

The Irish Farm Managers Association (IFMA) AGM takes place next Tuesday at 8pm in the Kilcoran Lodge Hotel in Cahir, Tipperary.

Speaking to AgriLand secretary of the IFMA John Fitzgerald said: “We are expecting a good turnout at the event and we are encouraging everyone that’s involved in the sector to attend.”

Grasstec‘s Bertie Troy will be the guest speaker at the event. According to Fitzgerald: “Grasstec’s Troy will be outlining the enormous opportunities that are out there for potential farm managers and current farm managers as we move towards quota abolition.

Fitzgerald commented: “There is huge demand for farm managers out there. We can see that there is a real lack of young skilled people getting into the sector. There is just not enough of the younger generation coming along to meet the demand. There is anecdotal evidence that farm owners are unable to find a qualified farm managers to work of them.

“We feel there has been a real neglect in this area by the Government.”

The IFMA secretary claims that the agriculture education system is not fit-for-purpose saying “the level of skill out there is not adequate to drive the industry”.

“The practical training side of the current education system is not adequate.”

He said that two months of practical training is not good enough and it should be at least a full year.

“There are situations were young lads are going out on to busy farms during calving and are just not ready to cope with the pressure of it. It’s not fair on both parties. These guys should start off in September and stay till the following September. This way they’re getting a more balance training.”

Fitzgerald concluded: “The IFMA will be calling for a serious rethink of how we are training young farmers at its AGM. The Government made a commitment in Harvest 2020 to train 100 managers a year. We are nowhere near that figure at the moment. Something must be done.”

Pictured: The attendance at the recent IFMA event in Dungarvan