Financial help for young farmers urged

The Irish Farm Managers Association has called for greater financial support to young people who show the commitment, dedication and enterprise to get started in farming.

At the recent IFMA annual conference opportunities for landless trained young persons to get into farming were welcomed.

The door was now open through partnerships and other joint venture arrangements for the new generation of trained young farmers and farm managers.

Specifically, the IFMA seeks the re-introduction of the Young Farmers Installation Scheme with a minimum entitlement available of €20,000 for the best trained young farmers.

“In order for the predicted 50% increase in dairying post 2015 to be realised it is imperative that subsidised funding be made available to young suitably qualified people,” said an IFMA spokesman.

This could be an interest subsidy derived from the 2% levy on the Single Farm Payment, which is EU policy and which would be at no cost to the national exchequer.

This funding will be necessary for investment in facilities, land improvement and livestock purchase.

The Irish Farm Managers Association will be making a submission to [the Government on these issues.

The IFMA welcomes the launch, by Teagasc, of the Professional Dairy Farm Management Training programme.

The farming industry needs the best trained and motivated young people to work in and manage the farms — as owners as well as employed farm managers, said the IFMA.

The additional practical two year internship or apprenticeship in the new farm management training programme is to be welcomed as this essential element has been missing from the training and education programmes since the days of the Farm Apprenticeship Board.

The achievement of the ambitious targets proposed in the Food Harvest 2020 Report will depend greatly on two key factors:

* The level of competency and managerial ability of farmers and managers and

* Putting in place mechanisms to integrate the most highly trained practitioners into farming — whether as owners or as employed farm managers. We must get them involved in the management of farms.

The Teagasc (and other) training and education programmes must be geared towards producing competent effective managers. It is hoped that the new dairy manager’s course will do exactly that and that it will be expanded into all the other main enterprises in time.

However, there will be little point in producing top class graduates for farming if they are not given the chance to get established in their own right in the business.


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