IFA National Dairy Committee Chairman Sean O’Leary has said the Stakeholder Working Group to be established by Teagasc has a very important mission in promoting dairy farming as an attractive source of employment and indeed an opportunity for a successful career in a dynamic sector.
The establishment of the Working Group was announced by Minister Creed at the recent Dairy Forum meeting.
“The reality is that the future of the Irish dairy sector will largely be driven by the motivated successors of today’s dairy farmers. It will be important for the Group to make recommendations to improve succession planning and the attractiveness of the sector. The Group will also have to help identify potential employees, deliver the required training where needed, and support Irish farmers to become good employers,” Mr O’Leary said.
“The FRS/Teagasc pilot scheme in the Kilkenny/Waterford area, supported by IFA, was a very good start in this regard, but it must be rolled out further and could perhaps be a template for a countrywide scheme,” he said.
“Finally, I also believe we need greater flexibility to be able to recruit abroad, including outside of the EU and the EEA. Most EU member states where Irish dairy farmers used to recruit have seen economic improvements which have encouraged those skilled farm workers to return home,” he said.
“IFA has made representations to the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Frances Fitzgerald and her Department to allow the farming sector to benefit from labour permits for farming operatives, skilled dairy farm workers and farm managers,” he concluded.