Programme to help farmers boost financial management skills

DAIRY farmers will be invited to enhance their financial management skills under a Glanbia and Teagasc programme to be rolled out to all Glanbia suppliers over the autumn and winter.

“The abolition of the milk quota regime will be the catalyst for significant growth on Irish dairy farms, Glanbia Dairy Ingredients Ireland chief executive Jim Bergin said.

“In this series of workshops, Glanbia suppliers will be trained by Teagasc personnel both on the elements of good financial planning and on how to use a financial planning toolkit.”

The programme is designed for the dairy sector, which is due to expand output by 50% as part of the Food Harvest 2020 report. Its aim is to ensure farmers achieve the financial returns to accompany the increased milk output.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney formally launched the programme yesterday on the farm of Anthony and Lisa Barrett, Longwood, Co Meath.

Mr Coveney said: “Improving efficiency and profitability at farm level is a key theme of the Food Harvest 2020 report, which maps out the actions required to develop and grow the agri-food sector over the next decade.

“The dairy industry is gearing up for significant expansion following the abolition of quotas in 2015, and the challenge will be to ensure that such expansion is profitable for operators at all levels of the supply chain, and sustainable in the context of potentially increased price volatility on global markets.

“This financial training programme demonstrates the best kind of co-oper-ation between suppliers, processors and Teagasc, and will assist farmers in improving their financial management skills and increasing their business orientation.

“It is a model for collaborative action which can be built upon and used as a template for the dairy sector, and indeed for the agri-food sector generally.”

Teagasc director Gerry Boyle said the Irish farm training body was delighted to be involved in the joint initiative with Glanbia.

He said that one of the key lessons from the Teagasc Greenfield dairy programme has been the importance of cash flow to the dairy business.

Professor Boyle said: “Failure to prepare a carefully costed expansion budget, combined with a failure to adhere to and monitor the budget, will increase the financial risk to the expansion initiative.

“This series of workshops for Glanbia milk suppliers will increase the awareness of the key financial risks, and the options and tools available to manage cash flow in an expansion scenario.”

The programme is intended to provide a strong basis from which individual farmers can engage with their normal farm advisory service.

However, it does not include financial advice and suppliers are encouraged to avail of this as required.

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