IFA National Grain Committee Chairman Liam Dunne said that it is clear that a small number of companies are misleading farmers in relation to the training needed to become professional users of plant protection products (PPPs), and are attempting to charge inordinate fees. For many grassland farmers or smaller operators, using a qualified contractor may make more sense.
Mr Dunne said, “Farmers should not be panicked into taking expensive courses as the deadline for registration is the 26th of November 2016. Farmers should shop around before booking a course as fees are ranging from €180 to €570. Indeed many farmers unknown to themselves may already have the necessary qualifications. Teagasc’s database shows that upwards on 14,000 farmers have the necessary FETAC Level 5 qualification and all they need to do is register online through the Department’s website. Farmers should check out with their local Teagasc office to see if they are qualified. If so they will be furnished with the necessary documentation.”
IFA has met with a number of course providers and emphasised the need to streamline the courses. The theory element, no different than the driver theory test, should be offered to clients through distance learning so that farmers do not have to take unnecessary leave from their farms. Based on the commitments received courses will be amended to cater for distance learning in the coming months.