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Teagasc Seminar Options for Farm Families A Success

Farmers like all business people are concerned about the future, this was demonstrated by the very large attendance of farm families at the Teagasc Seminar entitled ‘Options for Farm Families‘ held in the Anner Hotel, Thurles last week.

The seminar acknowledged that farm families are confronted with considerable challenges just now. To prosper and develop in the coming decade, farm families need to consider all opportunities to include  maximising farm efficiency and viability to achieve the highest possible returns and the adoption of  new enterprises on the farm to generate extra income.

Teagasc Attendees:

Front row: M. Henegan, L. Kenny. - Back row: M. Murray, J. Kenny, Dr C. O'Donoghue, D. Meredith, D. Mullane Teagasc.

Bill Condon, Teagasc adviser outlined the position as regards agriculture in Tipperary and gave his first hand experiences of key decisions taken by farmers in the county in recent years.  He emphasised the key areas within the farm to concentrate on before considering other options.  Donal Mullane Teagasc Area Manager encouraged farmers to avail of the advice, training and technical support for farm families on offer from the Teagasc team of advisers  He  drew attention to the opportunities as regards funding and advice from the Local Development Companies (LEADER), who  presented at the seminar, and the County Enterprise Boards, VEC, FAS and Citizen Information who  had information stands at the seminar for the purpose of creating linkage and providing information for farm families.

Dr.Cathal O Donoghue, and Teagasc, Head Rural Economy, Research and Development and Teagasc Economists David Meredith had some good news for farmers and stated that forecasts for farming look positive for 2011, with returns from the three main farm enterprises due to show improvement.  The other positive coming from the seminar was that farmers have all the qualities to develop successful businesses; they are familiar with regulation, administration, they plan strategically, have valuable assets, relatively low borrowings and are adaptable. It was emphasised that Training and up-skilling are essential for future progress.

The above was confirmed in the presentation by John Kenny, a Tipperary Farmer.  He stated “the importance of exploring all resources, to generate enough income and ensure a future for a successor on their farm, was the basis for their enterprise development.” The Kenny family own Fairymount Farm, near Roscrea, and as well as operating a viable farm they have  a number of other very successful enterprises  which includes Forestry, Rural Tourism, Equestrian and a Picture Framing business.

Maria Heneghan Options Co-ordinator and Rural Tourism Specialist stated that the Option Programme in Teagasc is about helping farmers to looking at the total farm family unit, the farm and its viability and efficiency, the skills within the family and the opportunities to expand and take on other enterprises. She drew attention to the newly designed Teagasc Farm Household Ready Reckoner, the purpose of which is to give farm families a pin- picture of financial situation in the farm household. This   can form the basis for further discussion with the Teagasc advisor leading to an Options Plan if that is what the family require. It is important to have all the figures, to hand, when filling in the figures.  If one wants to keep the information, it must be copied to a word document otherwise it disappears.

The Ready Reckoner can be found on the Teagasc web-site by clicking here. Farmers showed a lot of interest in this Ready Reckoner demonstration at this seminar.

Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc attended the seminar and urged farmers to take time out with their families and engage with the supports available to draw up a medium term plan which will best fit their circumstances.

The purpose of this very informative evening was to create awarenees of the supporting agenicies in the county and to create for farmers an opportunity to meet the personnel involved.

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