Farmers helping other farmers with relief milking in 1980 has grown into a nationwide business that employs over 1,500, and has a payroll in excess of €40m.
On Wednesday, August 13, 1980, National Co-op Farm Relief Services (NCFRS) was set up as the national co-ordinating body for more than 30 farm relief work co-ops.
On the 40th anniversary next week, the much diversified FRS Network organisation includes FRS Recruitment, set up in 1999, which has become one of the leading employment agencies, with turnover of some €18m.
FRS Network now includes successful businesses in farm relief services, fencing, training, recruitment, the Herdwatch agri-technology company, and the Turas Nua employability service.
Each business has a co-operative ethos to provide workers and services, first in the farming community, and now further diversified.
The component businesses came through two recessions and returned stronger, and continued to supply essential services through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Peter Bryne, CEO of FRS Network, has been at the helm since the start. He said, “The early relief milking group got off the ground through the dedication and commitment of voluntary committees and the foresight they had in setting up self-help services. These committees welcomed the involvement of full-time staff to allow the range and scope of services to grow. That openness and willingness to change and move with the times is the backbone, culture, and ethos on which the organisation has been built. Voluntary board members continue to play a key role, alongside a team of very experienced professional staff with management expertise across a wide spectrum.”
FRS Farm Relief continues the core business of supplying trained and experienced farm staff for short term emergency type situations, and on a more regular and permanent basis to many expanding farms. More than 1,000 FRS operators through the country operate from 14 FRS offices nationwide, carrying out milking, hoof care, freeze branding, scanning, and dehorning.
FRS Fencing initially focused on farm work but has branched into residential, industrial, security, sporting and recreational industries, and fencing materials retail.
FRS Recruitment serves all sectors, including financial, pharmaceutical, industrial, health services, IT, sales and marketing.
FRS Training is similarly diversified, most recently delivering Covid-19 compliance courses to get industries back to work safely.
Founded in 2014, the Herdwatch division supplies award-winning management software to more than 12,500 farmers in Ireland and the UK. More than one million Irish calves have been registered through Herdwatch.
Turas Nua, a fully owned FRS company with 40 offices and over 300 staff, has placed over 30,000 in jobs through the Jobpath Scheme.