Teagasc to set up Regional Farm Labour Database

Teagasc is in the process of setting up a Regional Farm Labour Database that would link farm families where a farmer or a farm worker becomes ill with Covid-19 with an available relief worker.

The database in being created in collaboration with the Farm Relief Services (FRS), and with the support of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

The initiative is aimed at supporting farm families where the farmer (main farm operator) requires hospitalisation or isolation as a result of a Covid-19 diagnosis.

We are encouraging farmers, rural dwellers and students with capacity and skills to help out with farm tasks – such as milking; calf rearing; grassland management; silage and meal feeding; and general farm duties – to contact Teagasc advisory and register on a locally-held database.

“With their consent, their details would be shared with farm families via the FRS, in the event of a farmer becoming ill with Covid-19,” Teagasc director Gerry Boyle explained.

Peter Byrne, CEO of FRS, added: “In this time of uncertainty we must make every effort to prepare for the impact Covid-19 may have on individual farmers. While FRS has a substantial database of experienced operators, we must plan for a situation where demand for FRS operators increases dramatically.

“Geographical location can sometimes be an issue in matching farmers who require additional labour with available operators. Increasing the database of suitably trained and experienced people should help in such situations,” Byrne added.

The initiative was welcomed by the farm organisations, with ICMSA president Pat McCormack saying it was a “pragmatic and prudent thing to do”.

Thomas Curran, manager of the Teagasc Cork West advisory region, explained: “If you are available to work on farms to assist fellow farmers during this period, please ring the designated Teagasc regional number, or your local Teagasc office.

“You will be registered on the Teagasc regional labour database. With your permission, your details will be passed to FRS and they will contact you in the event of a farmer needing assistance,” Curran added.

The Teagasc regions are as follows:

  • Cork West (Skibbereen) – 028-21888;
  • Cork East (Middleton) – 021-4631898;
  • Kerry-Limerick (Killarney) – 087-3826808;
  • Tipperary (Thurles) – 0504-21777;
  • Kilkenny-Waterford (Dungarvan) – 058-41211;
  • Carlow-Wicklow-Wexford (Johnstown Castle) – 053-9171350;
  • Dublin-Meath-Louth-Laois-Kildare (Naas) – 045-879203;
  • Offaly-Westmeath-Cavan-Monaghan (Tullamore) – 057-9321405;
  • Roscommon-Longford (Roscommon) – 090-6626166;
  • Clare-Galway (Athenry) – 091-845804;
  • Mayo (Ballina) – 087-6951432;
  • Donegal-Sligo-Leitrim (Ballymote) – 071-9183369.