Attitudes of Young Farmers to Agri Co-operatives – FRS Research Launched

Research Found Strong Appreciation from Young Farmers of the Importance of Agricultural Co-operatives in the ‘Future of Irish Farming’

On behalf of FRS Network Minister Andrew Doyle, Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, launched the ‘Attitudes of Young Farmers to Agricultural Co-operatives’ research at FRS Networks’ Headoffice in Roscrea, Co.Tipperary on Wednesday 31st of July 2019. Survey showed that 94% of survey respondents considered that agricultural co-operatives were important for the ‘future of Irish farming.’

Attended by representatives from the co-operatives, agricultural organisations, boards and media the event offered each person a chance to hear first-hand the findings of the research conducted and presented by Dr Pat Bogue, Broadmore Research and Consultancy on behalf of FRS, which was supported by the Golden Jubilee Trust. The survey was completed by 655 young farmers through online and paper-based questionnaires.

Comments and reactions by guest speakers, Minister Doyle, Richard Kennedy, IFA, Thomas Duffy, Macra and Ray Dempsey, Central Auctions led to an open discussion on the topics surrounding the future role of co-operatives in Ireland.

Minister Doyle commented; “The report’s recommendations can pave the way in ensuring co-op’s continue to be successful long into the future. The research findings should be considered by co-operatives and reviewed in the context of their own situation.  Farmers need to be informed, advised and convinced about the importance of holding shares and getting actively involved in co-operatives.”

Thomas Duffy, President of Macra Na Feirme told of his experience during this speech and said “In my experience boards have been welcoming, but boards need to know that young people will challenge, if they see the need to, and they need to be ready to embrace this and be open to change.” 

Ray Dempsey, Chairman of Central Auctions spoke about his long-standing experience with the co-op structure and said “The research now puts down on paper what we have been speaking about throughout our boards and committees. The co-operative ethos is as strong today as it ever was, but now is the time to ensure the future of it. If we leave it too long more and don’t make changes now we may see a very different picture. As Co-ops we need to be vibrant and appealing to young farmers to attract them in. The research showed that they see co-ops as important with the most important attribute being that they are owned by farmers.”

Richard Kennedy, Deputy President of IFA commented; “This very valuable report must not be left on a shelf gathering dust. Give youth responsibility and they will respond. Great credit to FRS for initiating the report.”

Pat Bogue, Broadmore Research and Consultancy commented;  “The research highlights that while young farmers appreciate the importance of co-operatives to the agri industry there is a level of complacency about becoming shareholders in the co-operatives with which they trade. There also appears to be a hesitancy with regard to getting involved in committees and boards. There is an opportunity for agricultural co-operatives to encourage greater engagement by younger farmers.”

The executive summary of the research brought to light the following:

Co-operatives continue to play an important role in Irish agriculture, however the level of involvement in co-operatives among young farmers is variable. Many young farmers trade/engage with co-operatives but are not shareholders and are not actively involved in the running of them (not serving on boards or committees). There appears to be a slow rate of transfer of shares in agricultural co-operatives to young farmers and more shares are being transferred to/inherited by non-farmers. National Co-op Farm Relief Service (NCFRS / FRS Network) is concerned about the:

  • Transfer of shares to younger farmers and non-farmers;
  • Low level of involvement of young farmers in co-operatives;
  • Proportion of young farmers who are shareholders in co-operatives; and
  • Pool of people available in the future to serve on co-operative committees and boards.

The most important findings to emerge from the research included:

  • 94% of survey respondents considered that agricultural co-operatives were important for the ‘future of Irish farming’ and 87% considered that agricultural co-operatives were important for their ‘own future in farming’;
  • 55% saw a benefit/possible benefit to be a shareholder in a co-operative with which they traded/engaged with;
  • Shares in agricultural co-operatives were transferred to the respondent or other family members in one quarter of farm families;
  • Transfer of shares in agricultural co-operatives had been discussed within the farm family of one in five respondents;
  • The main ways suggested for encouraging share transfer included: discounted shares; incentives to encourage transfer; education; and information;
  • Two-thirds indicated that they were interested in purchasing agricultural co-operative shares within the next 5 years;
  • 55% of respondents knew a board member of a Dairy Co-operative;
  • 44% were definitely/possibly interested in future membership of a Dairy Co-operative Board and 33% were definitely/possibly interested in future membership of a Co-operative Livestock Mart Board;
  • One quarter believed that agricultural co-operative boards were ‘open and welcoming’;
  • Two-thirds of respondents were interested/possibly interested in training on the role of co-operative boards; and
  • The most important attribute of co-operatives identified by respondents was that they were ‘farmer owned/controlled’. 

The conclusions from the research can be summarised as follows:

Young farmers:

  • Appreciate the importance of agricultural co-operatives;
  • Are engaging with agricultural co-operatives on a regular basis;
  • Have a low level of share ownership and have had limited shares transferred to them by parents/family members;
  • Had limited discussion about the transfer of shares with parents/family members;
  • But are interested in purchasing co-operative shares in the future;
  • Appreciate the attributes of co-operatives but are not convinced about the benefits of being a shareholder of co-operatives which they trade/engage with;
  • Believe that financial insecurity and fear contribute to the delay in share transfer;
  • But are not unduly concerned about the slow/delayed transfer of shares or the transfer of shares to non-farmers;
  • Believe that incentives and information are critical to encourage share transfer;
  • Are potentially interested in becoming involved in co-operative boards but will need to be encouraged;
  • As there is a level of scepticism about the extent to which co-operative boards are open and welcoming.

The recommendations from the research can be summarised as follows:

  • The research findings should be considered by co-operatives and reviewed in the context of their own situation;
  • Farmers need to be informed, advised and convinced about the importance of holding shares and getting actively involved in co-operatives;
  • Farmers engaging with agricultural co-operatives need to be encouraged to become shareholders and be actively involved;
  • Share transfer and purchase need to be actively facilitated and encouraged;
  • The potential interest in future involvement in boards and committees needs to be nurtured;
  • Boards need to ensure that they are ‘open and welcoming’ to new members; and
  • Innovative approaches to demonstrate the role, function and importance of co-operatives should be developed.

Peter Byrne, CEO, FRS Network, welcomed all to the launch of the Research and commented;

“I want to thank the Golden Jubilee Trust for their financial support of this very important research project and to Pat Bogue of Broadmore Research and Consulting who’s knowledge of the Agricultural sector, together with his research expertise, has resulted in a very comprehensive report with excellent interpretation and recommendations.

Having worked with several FRS board members both at National and local level, I truly appreciate the enormous time and commitment they have given in a voluntary capacity to the FRS organisation over the last 40 years.  I take a great sense of comfort from this research project that such commitment will be forth coming from our present day young farmers, but we need to take positive steps to encourage and support them to become actively involved in their local co-operatives both as shareholders and board members.”

Francis Fitzgerald, NCFRS Chairman commented;

“Agricultural Co-operatives have made an enormous contribution to Irish farming over the years.  Thousands of farmers have given outstanding and dedicated service to their co-operatives as board and committee members.  The leadership and vision of these very board members has resulted in the growth and development of Agricultural Co-operatives. 

It is imperative that young farmers become involved in the Co-op movement both as shareholders and as board and committee members.  The board of NCFRS are concerned that not enough is being done to encourage such involvement and hence our decision to undertake this study.  We are very pleased to read that overall young farmers have a positive attitude to Co-operatives, but they have confirmed our view that they need to be actively encouraged to become more involved.  Every Co-op has a role to play in promoting the Co-op Model, in actively encouraging share transfer to younger active farmers and nurturing the interest of young farmers in board participation.”

Dr. Sean Brady, Trust Chairman, Golden Jubilee Trust commented;

 “Golden Jubilee Trust is delighted to support this excellent initiative of FRS.  The long-term future of the Co-operative Movement in Ireland is in the hands of the young Farmers of today.  New ideas and talents are essential to continue to develop the co-operative movement so that it remains core to the needs of the Farming Families of the future.

This work will inform the co-operatives on how to engage with young farmers so as to build on the past to create an excellent future for farmers in Ireland.”

Contact: jmarks@frsnetwork.ie for a full copy of the report.

Posted in Farm, Farm Labour Demand, FRS Farm Services, FRS Fencing Systems, FRS Network News, FRS Recruitment, FRS Training, Herdwatch, Membership Benefit Scheme, Uncategorized

News: FRS Dairy Operative Skills Programme launch and Ear to the Ground

FRS in conjunction with Teagasc have launched a new Dairy Operative Skills Programme and it featured on RTE Ones’, Ear to the Ground.

FRS milking operators, Jennifer Matthews and Josh Phelan, both successfully completed the programme and were featured along with farmer James O’Brien from Kilkenny on Ear to the Ground.

Watch clip here: https://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/ear-to-the-ground-1023/10807334/?ap=1

Interested candidates are invited to apply for seasonal work as milkers and farm workers with FRS Farm Relief Services and those who require upskilling will have the unique opportunity to complete a 20 day programme involving 4 training days in a Teagasc College and 16 days practical work experience on host farms organised by FRS.

On successful completion of their training, candidates will be offered work through FRS during the peak months of January/February to May/June 2018. The work could potentially earn an individual up to €8,000 or more and participants will be paid during their training.

The three potential candidate groups that have been identified to take part in the programme and to take up seasonal work to help alleviate labour shortages and are, but not limited to:

• Dry Stock Farmers – on individual farms where there may be capacity to take on a additional part time role.
• Women in Agriculture – who may be interested in work involving milking, calf rearing and livestock husbandry.
• Farmers on Farm Assist and Jobseekers – who are in receipt of a DSP payment and who may be interested in farm work. (FRS advise individuals of the need to discuss their individual position with Dept. Social Protection (DSP), as taking up employment may have implications for their DSP allowances).

Peter Byrne, CEO, FRS Network said “FRS believe that this project is one of a number of possible options including sourcing labour from abroad that must be examined to source and train potential FRS operators’’.

Applicants for the ‘Dairy Operative Skills Programme’ and work with FRS are invited to talk through with their local FRS Office or visit www.frsfarmrelief.ie/careers for more details and to apply online.

Posted in Farm, Farm Labour Demand, FRS Farm Services, FRS Fencing Systems, FRS Network News, FRS Recruitment, FRS Training, Herdwatch, Media Centre, Membership Benefit Scheme

Herdwatch and FRS Farm Relief Services attend the ICMSA AGM

ICMSA AGM Castletroy Park Hotel Limerick Picture Credit Brian Gavin Press 22

Herdwatch and FRS Farm Relief Services attend the ICMSA AGM on Monday 28 November in the Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick. Pictured left to right are: Padraig Madden, FRS Network, John Comer, ICMSA President, Minister Michael Creed, Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Minister John Bruton, former Taoiseach and James Greevy, Herdwatch.

Posted in Farm, Farm Labour Demand, FRS Archives, FRS Farm Services, FRS Fencing Systems, FRS Network News, FRS Recruitment, FRS Training, Herdwatch, Membership Benefit Scheme

FRS on Countrywide Sat 16th Jan

Tune in to Countrywide Radio One tomorrow morning (Sat 16) from 8:10am to get the farmer and farm relief worker perspectives on getting work done on the farm. Plus in studio discussion with Peter Byrne, FRS and Darragh McCullough, RTE Presenter, on sourcing farm workers to meet the growing demand.

Posted in Farm, Farm Labour Demand, FRS Archives, FRS Farm Services, FRS Fencing Systems, FRS Network News, FRS Recruitment, FRS Training, Herdwatch, Membership Benefit Scheme

News: We’re HIRING Farm Workers

We have launched a recruitment drive to attract part time and full time dairy and general farm labour workers. Visit www.frsfarmrelief.ie/careers

Posted in Farm, Farm Labour Demand, FRS Archives, FRS Farm Services, FRS Fencing Systems, FRS Network News, FRS Recruitment, FRS Training, Herdwatch

News: Agricultural Advisors Required

We are currently recruiting for Agricultural Advisors to provide GLAS planning and related services. Visit www.frsnetwork.ie/careers

Posted in Farm, Farm Labour Demand, FRS Archives, FRS Farm Services, FRS Fencing Systems, FRS Network News, FRS Recruitment, FRS Training, Herdwatch, Media Centre, Membership Benefit Scheme

Article: As Summer hits it’s time to dose

 

 

farm-services

Rain and warm humid weather are ideal conditions for the development of infectious diseases during these summer months. Worm infections in particular are widespread. As summer progresses calves eat more grass and the risk of infection rises. Stomach worm can cause up to 50% loss in performance. It’s vital that the health of a farmer’s stock is constantly treated for worms.
Stomach worms are present as larvae which have survived from the previous season and others arise because they are passed through the gut of a cow. Calves which have not been exposed to this infection before have no immunity, so the larvae multiply in their stomachs. This leads to the spread of infection very quickly. Animals will be up to two years old before full immunity develops. Although cattle develop resistance over time, dosing for all animals is still usually required around July.

 

HOW BEST TO TREAT THE ANIMALS?
There are an enormous range of products on the market to treat worms in animals – ranging from the oral dose, to the injection, to a pour on or bolus. It cannot be said that any one product is better than another, but the longevity of activity against worms can vary in the type of product used.
The white wormer that is orally dosed is probably the cheapest form of treating cattle with worms, but it also has the shortest activity length against worms. The many Ivermectin injections have various activity lengths and price wise, per animal, are slightly dearer than a white wormer, but are effective. Pour ons are again very effective and are extremely easy to use especially from a labour point of view. Weather may be a problem when using a pour on as a few hours of drying are required after application to allow it to soak in. Finally, a bolus can be given to stock orally, which is lodged in the animal’s stomach where it remains slowly releasing and killing worms during the grazing period. It’s a once off dose which, from a labour point of view, makes it very attractive, but is more expensive than any of the other forms of treating animals.

 

WILL OLDER STOCK BENEFIT

Some older stock on the farm will benefit from a worm treatment at this time of year, namely yearling stores and in particular suckled yearlings, who would not have been as prone to worm infestation in their first year of growth.. Cows in general this year are showing more signs of worm infestation with persistent coughing been remarked by many farmers. If such is to be heard in your stock it is advisable to treat the herd.

 

BEING AWARE OF THE PRESENCE OF FLUKE
It may seem strange to mention Fluke at this time of year as we associate treating animals for fluke infestation during the late autumn and winter months. However if you happen to kill any animals in the factory over the coming weeks it is worth noting on the factory sheet return has the factory indicated whether fluke was active in any of the animals that were killed. We sometimes naively believe that because we dosed an animal maybe once over the winter period that all the fluke have been killed off in that animal. Unfortunately that may not be the case and if any few have been left behind they can multiply very rapidly again. It is estimated that €90 million is lost in the irish agricultural industry each year due to the presence of fluke. When routinely treating for worms throughout the summer it may be well worth while treating at least once during that period for fluke as well.

 

WHAT IS THE CORRECT DOSAGE TO GIVE?
All animal dosing products provide details on how much product to give an animal with regard to the weight of that animal. The hardest part from a farmers point of view is estimating the actual weight of the animal they are about to treat. The FRS cattle weighing service can be very helpful as it gives accurate animal weights and is an indicator of how animals are performing.

 

KEEPING SAFETY IN MIND
Keep safety in mind at all times when dosing. Safe handling of the animal, the product one is using and the safety of the operator are important. Ensure facilities are stock friendly and secure. Wear protective clothing when handling dosing products and dispose of used product needles etc. in a safe and environmental friendly manner. From the operator point of view – don’t take chances – what might appear to be a very quiet bucket fed calf could have a very strong kick.

 

FRS CAN ASSIST
FRS Cahir have a wide extensive range of animal wormers at very competitive prices. We can also chat to you about what product may best suit the stock you wish to treat and what’s of best value. FRS have a very experienced team of operators to assist you when dosing and handling livestock.

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Posted in Farm, FRS Archives, FRS Farm Services, FRS Fencing Systems, FRS Network News, FRS Training, Media Centre

News: More farmers set to upskill their milking practice

Father and son at best practice in milking course

 

FRS (Farm Relief Services) launched the “Best Practice in Milking” course in conjunction with Teagasc and AHI (Animal Health Ireland) in July of last year.  The course itself proved to be a complete success.  Almost four hundred farmers have upskilled their milking practices through the course and are currently in the process of receiving their highly commendable FETAC/QQI level 6 certifications.

Participants had positive feedback to give about the course.  From beginners to the utmost experienced, each participant had something great to say about the course and the way in which it was taught.  Some even admitted that milking all your life does not necessarily mean you know everything about it, “I have been milking all my life, didn’t think there was anything I didn’t know!  But I was wrong AGAIN”. 

Minister Coveney launching Milking course at MSJ with FRS Teagasc and AHI LOW RES

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD, officially launched the milking course last year on behalf of FRS, Teagasc and AHI.

At the launch Minister Coveney said; “By improving standards and improving current farming practices through this milking course will help take the industry to the next level and to where we need to be in order to provide the best practice efficiently and compete on wider international stage.  The department is backing this course through its funding and encourages farmers to upskill their current practices and new entrants to put the best foot forward and complete the course”.

The course is suited to all level of expertise.  Some of the previous participants felt that the course should be compulsory for those new to dairy.  “Excellent course. Should be made compulsory for new entrants”.

Every area of the milking routine is covered throughout the duration of the course including; Preparation for milking, Machine parts/components, Milk quality (SCC&TBC), Mastitis prevention, Washing routines, Animal diseases, Health and safety and many other essential aspects to ensure an efficient dairy system is in place.

Undoubtedly, the course itself is extremely unique as it brings together the theory parts of milking and also the practical implementation of the theory.   A customised DVD aids the delivery of the course and acts as a reference guide in the future.  All course tutors and directors have been specifically trained and course content approved by the experts in the area of milking.

Past participants were enthusiastic and highly recommended farmers to do the course, “I would recommend to all farmers because you would learn so much and “All farmers should do it, excellent course”.

 

Best Practice John in GurteenPlans are currently under-way for the next tranche of milking courses, which are due to commence this coming July 2015 and will be running throughout the country.  The course is open to all levels of milking experience from new entrants and people interested in relief milking to experienced dairy farmers.

Currently the cost of the course is €250, reduced from €500 due to a €250 department subsidy.  With the success of last year’s course FRS, Teagasc and AHI hopes that this year will be as successful.

Peter Byrne, CEO FRS Network says; “FRS have been providing milking training to FRS relief milkers and farmers for 35 years, but we wanted to standardise the course to improve the consistency of its delivery and also give certification of achievement to participants that recognises the hard work they have put in and the learning value that they have received.  We are delighted with the response so far and will continue to progress with the confidence that the milking course is delivering what it set it do.”

For more information on the course or if you wish to book a spot for July:

Visit www.frstraining.com/milkingcourse, alternatively call 1890 20 10 00 or Kevin Fitzpatrick at 086 0280450.  Drop us an email at info@frstraining.com.

For updates visit and like our Facebook page www.facebook.com/frsmkilkingcourse

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Posted in Farm, FRS Archives, FRS Farm Services, FRS Fencing Systems, FRS Network News, FRS Recruitment, FRS Training

News: Listen to Herdwatch on Countrywide Radio One

Presenter of Countrywide, Damien O’Reilly, spoke with one of our Herdwatch Farmers, Andrew Darmody, about how the Herdwatch App is saving him 5 to 6 hours a week. Listen to Herdwatch on Countrywide RTE Radio One

 

Damien O'reilly spoke to Herdwatch farmer Andrew Darmody

damien oreilly presenter of rte radio one countrywide on farm with herdwatch

 

Posted in Farm Labour Demand, FRS Farm Services, FRS Fencing Systems, FRS Network News, FRS Training, Herdwatch, Membership Benefit Scheme

News: Herdwatch goes National on Radio

Tune in to Countrywide RTE Radio One with Damien O’Reilly tomrorrow (Sat 16th) @ 8.25 am to hear how Herdwatch is changing the way things are done down on the farm.
http://www.herdwatch.ie/herdwatch-rte-radio-countrywide/damien oreilly presenter of rte radio one countrywide on farm with herdwatch

Posted in Farm Labour Demand, FRS Farm Services, FRS Fencing Systems, FRS Network News, FRS Recruitment, FRS Training, Herdwatch, Membership Benefit Scheme
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