The main purpose would be to educate a new genratoon in co-op structures, corporate governance and leadership. Macra president Seán Finan said the committees could interface with co-op boards to learn about the industry and also feed information up the line to senior board members.
“This would give young farmers a grounding in boards and co-operatives structures. This is a pro-active approach to nurturing young leaders,” he said.
Mr Finan said there is a need for a constant evolution of structures for co-ops to be successful. Constitutional rules that are more reflective of bygone times must adapt to a more modern society for better communication and connectivity, he said.
The Macra leader said young dairy farmers are the most engaged with their co-ops. They supply their product. It is processed and sold by the co-op and the price is set by co-ops. As a result, it’s easier to empower young dairy farmers to get involved in the structures.
Young farmers have less contact, however, with their livestock marts co-ops. They see these as providing a service and perceive mart boards as closed shops.
Mr Finan said education and awareness is very important to getting more young farmers involved in co-ops. Macra continues to develop leaders and young farmers through programmes and activities. It continues to provide leaders to co-ops who go on to take on leadership roles.
Over four years, it has run young farmer dairy and mart director courses in conjunction with national umbrella body, the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS). The next course is in December. Mr Finan said the co-ops will nurture future leaders if they engage young farmer shareholders.
Meanwhile, ICOS Skillnet has partnered with UCC to provide a corporate direction diploma course in food business, which started in September under a management development programme.
The key aim is to improve the capabilities of directors and senior management in positively influencing the strategic direction and corporate governance of food companies in Ireland.