The new farm partnership register is set to be signed off by the Minister by June or July, according to John Downey of the Meat and Milk Policy Division in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The new register will take over from the Milk Production Partnerships (MPP) which come to an end next March. Speaking at today’s Teagasc national collaborative farming conference in Clonmel today he said: “While the new register will be managed by the Department itself. Teagasc will have a significant role both in an involvement capacity and promotion of farm partnerships. There is a wealth of knowledge in Teagasc due to its work in this area over the years.”

Downey said: “The progress began 12 months ago. We ran into some legal issues initially. But with the help of the Department of Finance who amended the relevant acts to include other enterprises, those issues were solved.”

He continued: “Following that we drew up the legislation and engaged with a consultation process with key stakeholders. We are nearly there in terms of the process and we hope to have the new registers statutory instruments and detailed rules by June/July for the Minister to sign.”

Downey highlighted: “The legal basis of the current Milk Production Partnerships ends on the 31 of March in 2015. Ending with quota abolition.”

“The new register will feature a continuation of the registration of the current process in the Milk Production Partnerships. But more is needed and that is what we are trying to bring with the new register.”

He continued: “Particularly in providing for parties looking to establish partnerships in other enterprises outside daring. We are getting calls for this. We hope the new register will solve this problem.”

Downey noted that Teagasc are set to write to parties in current Milk Production Partnerships in the coming weeks for permission to pass their information from Teagasc to the Department. Milk Production Partnerships will be automatically transferred across to the new register on 1 April 2015, he stated.