Farm safety topped the agenda in a meeting between secondary school students from Co. Limerick and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

The four students from Salesian Secondary College in Pallaskenry, Co. Limerick attended a meeting with Minister Creed in Dublin last week.

The students are also one of the 2015 national finalists in the Certified Irish Angus Beef School Competition, which is run by the Irish Angus Producer Group and is supported by ABP and Kepak Group.

As part of the competition the Pallaskenry students completed a project, with farm safety being their main theme.

The project was carried over an 18 month period, to coincide with the rearing of five certified Irish Angus cattle, which they were presented with at the 2015 National Ploughing Championships as part of the competition.

At the meeting with Minister Creed, the Leaving Certificate students discussed the topical issue of farm safety and the importance of promoting farm safety amongst young people.

Farm safety is not going to improve overnight, it is going to take a lot of work and education, according to the students.

Research Project Findings

While researching the project the students discovered some alarming statistics, including that the farming sector represents just 5% of the total workforce but contributes almost 30% of workplace deaths.

Meanwhile, the project also focused on how the Angus breed could help to improve the safety on Irish farms as they are naturally polled and do not require to be de-horned, saving farmers time during peak working months.

Their research showed that January and March were two months where there was a rise in farm deaths, which they attributed to an increased workload during calving time in a spring calving herd. 

According to the student’s research, farm safety can also be improved with the help of modern livestock handling facilities.

As part of the final step of the competition the students will have to make a final presentation to a panel of agricultural experts on January 5, 2017.

The overall winners of the Certified Irish Angus Beef School Competition will be announced at an event in Croke Park on March 15, 2017 and will receive an additional €2,000 to further their education.