President Michael D Higgins to Address Family Farming Conference Next Week

President Michael D Higgins will give the keynote address at an International Conference on Family Farming organised by IFA and Teagasc next Monday (December 1st) to mark the UN International Year of Family Farming.

President Higgins will also present an award to the national winner of the FAO Year of Family Farming Awards, organised by the Irish Farmers Journal, in association with IFA and Teagasc. The four provincial finalists in the running for the national title worth €5,000 will be attendance on the day. The finalists are the Dunphy family, dairy farmers from Easkey, Co Sligo; the Hamilton family, tillage farmers from Comber, Co. Down; the Murphy family, dairy farmers from Coachford, Co. Cork; and the Whyte family, tillage farmers from Naul, Co. Dublin.

The UN International Year of Family Farming (2014 IYFF) is a worldwide celebration to raise the profile of family farming by focusing attention on its significant role in providing food security, improving livelihoods, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development.

Speaking in advance of the conference, IFA President Eddie Downey said, “The family farm model is crucial to agriculture in Ireland; family is at the heart of farming right across the country. This conference is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the significant contribution that farm families make to the economic and social life of local communities, producing quality food and caring for the environment. Future CAP programmes will have to re-focus on the core principles of food security and providing a sustainable income for farm families in order to maintain farming and economic activity across Ireland and the EU”.

The conference will take place in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin and will be addressed by a number of national and international speakers, including:

– Gerd Sonnleitner, UN Goodwill Ambassador for the 2014 International Year of Family Farming;
– Professor Mandi Rukuni, Barefoot Education for Africa Trust (BEAT);
– Rowena Dwyer, IFA Chief Economist;
– Dr David Meredith, Senior Research Officer, Teagasc.

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