Farm Family Reports

Farm Family Council Report March 2022

Activity since last National Council

  • IFA attended the COVID Vaccine Partner Community Network meeting, the communication highlights are: 
    • Clinical trials show that COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5 – 11 years is highly effective at preventing COVID-19 in children.
    • New video explaining the additional dose and booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for people who have a weak immune system. 
    • A new medicine is available to treat people with COVID-19 who are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill. Sotrovimab is also known by the brand name Xevudy is the first type of COVID-19 medicine available in Ireland. 
    • People aged 16 and older can get their COVID-19 vaccine booster dose now. This includes people who have a weak immune system. To book a vaccine appointment click here.

Factual up to date information about COVID-19 Vaccine on or you can phone HSE team on 1850 24 1850/01 240 8787 or email [email protected].

  • There is funding available for community-based groups and voluntary organisations through the National Lottery Funding Grants. This funding is distributed by the HSE under the Respite Care Grant Scheme and the National Lottery Grant Scheme. Groups and organisations involved in the provision of Health and Personal Social Services can apply for once-off funding of between €500 and €10,000 for suitable projects. For more information click here.
  • The following updates relate to Farm Safety:
    • There have been 1 farm fatalities officially recorded by HSA to date. To keep up to date on farm fatalities click here
    • The resumption of in-person farm safety training under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS II) was recently announced. The completion of this training is part of the requirements to draw down payments for approved works that have been completed under the scheme. This training will resume in-person from 1st March.
    • The new Agri-Environment Training Scheme (AETS) for farmers was launched by the DAFM on the 8th February, the initiative is a voluntary training scheme open to all farmers to improve their knowledge of agri-environment initiatives and farm safety.
    • The 2022 Farm Safe Schools programme was launched in January and will run from February – May 2022. The IFA as a partner organisation have been liaising with National Schools in their respective counties to encourage them to participate. For more information on the Farm Safe Schools programme, click here.  
    • IFA prepared a presentation on February Farm Safety Focus for the County Executives the topics covered included; Farm Safety School programme, slurry safety and preparing for a safe calving season.
  • The research article, Exploring state pension provision policy for the farming community, has been published by Teagasc and Maynooth University investigating the effect proposed changes to the State pension system will have on farmers in Ireland. The full research article can be accessed here. The research shows that: 
    • Under the current Irish State pension system, low-income farmers might not qualify for the Contributory or non-Contributory State pension and that proposed changes to the State Welfare System do not alleviate this problem.
    • It recommends a compulsory PRSI contribution system that will give farmers undisputed entitlement to a contributory State pension. 
  • The Joint Committee on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands published a report in response to the Report of the Commission on Pensions, which stated that the current State Pension is not sustainable in its current form and changes are needed. One of the JOC’s key recommendations is that the qualifying age for the State pension should remain at age 66 and that that there be no change to the pension age of 66 until 2028 and to eventually increase to 68 by 2039. To read the Committee’s report click here
  • Following representation from IFA DAFM announced that the age limit for the 60% Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) grant for women will be raised to 66 years of age under the next CAP 2023-2027. The initial age limit which was proposed (between 40 and 55 years of age) was opposed by IFA in their recent submission to the CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027.
  • IFA met with the HSE to discuss response to the changes to the Fair Deal scheme. The HSE are currently reviewing applications and will update on progress at the next meeting in early March.
    • People in care under Fair Deal before 20th October 2021 may still be able to apply for the 3-year cap subject to satisfying the eligibility criteria by completing section 7 in the application form and submitting to their local Nursing Homes support scheme office before 20th April 2022.
    • A date has provisionally been set for an online webinar on the Fair Deal scheme on Tuesday, 22nd March at 8pm.
  • IFA met with John McNamara, Teagasc to discuss the On Feirm Ground programme to support farmer health and wellbeing. It has been agreed that IFA will undertake a pilot initiative in 2022 under the programme to equip IFA Officers and Staff with the knowledge, skills and competencies to engage and signpost farmers on health issues and to mainstream a health promotion focus into routine farming extension activities.
  • IFA attended the Women in Agriculture Stakeholders’ Group (WASG) to discuss CAP measures, supports for women farmers through targeted training etc. 
    • IFA participated in an interview with Mary Curtain, University Limerick researching women in farming. In addition, the Committee participated and shared with other women farmers in their network an online survey to gather baseline information. 
  • IFA attended a meeting with National Safeguarding Advisory committee to discuss the draft Adult Safeguarding Charter as well as the development of guidelines to support older Ulster Bank customers to transfer accounts to other banks. 
  • IFA attended a meeting of the Farm Safety Partnership Advisory Committee (FSPAC) to discuss updates from the farm safety working groups.
  • IFA attended an online launch of a new Stand Up to Stigma booklet, Changing the language we use when talking about mental health organised by See Change. To read the booklet click here.  
  • IFA are starting to develop a plan for the Green Ribbon campaign, which will take place in September 2022.

Any EU/COPA developments

  • IFA made a contribution to the Working Party on Rural Development on interventions within Ireland’s Strategic Plan in relation to improving gender equality.

Upcoming issues

  • Continue to promote and encourage schools to participate in the 2022 Farm Safe Schools programme. 
  • Development of an IFA & Safeguarding Ireland guidance document for farmers preparing for old age. 
  • IFA will be making a presentation on Climate Anxiety: A Farmers’ Perspective to an online workshop organised by Department of Sociology & Criminology in UCC. 

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