Ferns farm event high­lights the need for qual­ity as­sur­ance scheme

Enniscorthy Guardian - - NEWS - BY ES­THER HAY­DEN

A TEA­GASC beef and sheep Qual­ity As­sur­ance (QA) event was held on the farm of Harry and Amanda Mur­phy, Bal­la­mon, Ferns, last week.

Run in con­junc­tion with Bord Bia, the ob­jec­tive of the event was to high­light the key ar­eas where farm­ers are hav­ing is­sues with the Bord Bia Qual­ity As­sur­ance In­spec­tion for beef and sheep.

Other themes ad­dressed at the event in­cluded road safety and le­gal re­quire­ments for agri­cul­tural ve­hi­cles on the road, along with quad safety and the health and well-be­ing of farm­ers.

Tea­gasc beef and sheep ad­vi­sor, Martina Har­ring­ton, spoke at the event, un­der­lin­ing the im­por­tance of achiev­ing the qual­ity as­sured beef pro­ducer sta­tus to the in­comes of farm­ers fin­ish­ing cat­tle and sheep.

Tea­gasc and Bord Bia had four stands out­lin­ing the new QA scheme that was launched in 2017. The three main ar­eas where farm­ers are likely to make the most mis­takes, and how these can be sim­ply cor­rected, were also cov­ered.

The key ar­eas where farm­ers are most likely to make mis­takes in­clude: record­ing an­i­mal reme­dies; health and safety; and flock regis­ters, ac­cord­ing to Tea­gasc.

Damien Mur­ray from Bord Bia out­lined the need for a qual­ity as­sur­ance scheme. ‘It is vi­tal to sup­port the Ir­ish food in­dus­try and to re­as­sure con­sumers on food trace­abil­ity and ori­gin.’

Mur­ray in­formed the crowd of al­most 500 farm­ers that there are cur­rently 51,000 in the beef and lamb QA scheme with a fur­ther 15,000 farm­ers in the dairy scheme.

There are ap­prox­i­mately 35,000 au­dits car­ried out around the coun­try by 100 au­di­tors, which works out at around 700 au­dits per week.

Pearse Kelly, Head of Dry­s­tock Knowl­edge Trans­fer in Tea­gasc, also spoke, say­ing: ‘With the new QA scheme in place since April of this year, beef and sheep farm­ers now have the op­por­tu­nity to cor­rect any is­sues that have been found dur­ing an au­dit of their farm.

‘Dur­ing this 30-day grace pe­riod the farmer re­mains cer­ti­fied and el­i­gi­ble for fac­tory bonuses.’

The topic of road safety was cov­ered by Garda Bren­dan Con­don and Garda Adrian Nevin from the Garda Traf­fic Corp, who also looked at the le­gal re­quire­ments re­gard­ing agri­cul­tural ve­hi­cles, along with the new RSA (Road Safety Author­ity) stan­dards for tow­ing trail­ers and li­cenc­ing re­quire­ments.

The Gardai high­lighted the fact that farm­ers must have the cor­rect li­cence for tow­ing trail­ers and that there are weight re­stric­tions in place for trail­ers.

On the topic of quad bikes, the company Quad­ven­ture from Clon­roche gave a talk at the event. The company noted that far too many farm­ers have been se­ri­ously in­jured and lost their lives due to ac­ci­dents with quad bikes.

Farm­ers were also en­cour­aged to ac­knowl­edge the stresses and strains that come with farm­ing, along with the soli­tary el­e­ment of the job, at the event. They were also told that by talk­ing to friends and fam­ily many prob­lems can be shared and solutions found.

Linda Thorpe of Men­tal Health Ire­land spoke about how to main­tain a healthy body and healthy mind. Also present were lo­cal clubs and so­ci­eties. Farm­ers and their fam­i­lies had the chance to try out a jive or even a quick step with De­clan Flana­gan from So­cial Danc­ing in Wex­ford.

The lo­cal IFA (Ir­ish Farm­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion) kept chil­dren busy teach­ing them the dan­gers that lurk in farm­yards through in­ter­ac­tive games and colour­ing on the day.

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