Sem­i­nar look­ing at the fu­ture of Ir­ish agri­cul­ture

The Corkman - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

OVER 250 farm­ers at­tended the AIB ‘Fu­ture Prospects for Ir­ish Agri­cul­ture’ sem­i­nar which took place re­cently in the River­side Ho­tel, Mac­room.

The event, chaired by for­mer pres­i­dent of Macra Na Feirme Alan Ja­goe, had a strong line up of speak­ers in­clud­ing Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of Car­bery Group, Ja­son Hawkins and AIB Agri Ad­vi­sor, Donal Whel­ton who all dis­cussed the cur­rent and fu­ture long-term out­look for the agri sec­tor.

While all speak­ers re­flected on the chal­leng­ing con­di­tions ex­pe­ri­enced on farm at present, it was re­form of the 2020 Com­mon Agri­cul­tural Pol­icy, Brexit and farm in­vest­ment that evoked the most lively dis­cus­sion and en­gage­ment at the event.

And while it was clear that there are a num­ber of chal­lenges ahead, speak­ers also re­flected on the strong im­age and rep­u­ta­tion of Ir­ish pro­duce on in­ter­na­tional mar­kets and the op­por­tu­ni­ties pre­sented by a grow­ing global pop­u­la­tion and the in­creas­ing de­mand for pro­tein in their di­ets.

In his pre­sen­ta­tion, Min­is­ter Creed, ac­knowl­edged that any form of Brexit would cause is­sues for Ire­land. He added that his De­part­ment, along with Bord Bia, is con­stantly work­ing on de­vel­op­ing new mar­kets for Ir­ish food prod­ucts.

Min­is­ter Creed added that his De­part­ment is work­ing hard to en­sure that Ir­ish farm­ers get their fair share of the bud­get in the new re­formed CAP post 2020.

Ja­son Hawkins gave an in­sight into some of the ex­pand­ing mar­kets Ir­ish farm­ers are sell­ing their pro­duce into and he also dis­cussed the op­por­tu­nity for growth in the de­vel­op­ing economies of Asia.

He noted that in some of these coun­tries cheese con­sump­tion is still only 20 per cent of the level that is con­sumed in de­vel­oped coun­tries such as the USA. Mr Hawkins also added that Ire­land is one of the most car­bon ef­fi­cient pro­duc­ers of dairy prod­ucts in the world, which is a key sell­ing point for Car­bery Group.

Donal Whel­ton, ac­knowl­edged the chal­lenges the weather con­di­tions had cre­ated on farm, both from a fod­der and also a fi­nan­cial per­spec­tive this year and he en­cour­aged those in at­ten­dance to com­plete a cash­flow bud­get for the months ahead.

Mr Whel­ton also noted the ad­vances the in­dus­try has made in re­cent years, point­ing to that fact that Ire­land pro­duced 34 per cent more milk in 2017 in com­par­i­son to 1984, with 10 per cent less cows.

Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Food & the Marine, Cork North West TD Michael Creed, ad­dresses the crowd.

AIB Agri Mat­ters Sem­i­nar: Head of AIB Cork County, John O’Do­herty, ad­dresses the packed AIB Agri Mat­ters Sem­i­nar re­cently held at the River­side Park Ho­tel, Mac­room. Pic­tures: John De­lea.

Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Food Fo & the Marine, Cork North West TD Michael Creed, ad­dresses d the th AIB Agri Mat­ters Sem­i­nar re­cently e held h at the River­side Park Ho­tel, Mac­room. Pic­ture: John De­lea. D

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