Longford farmers share benefits of partnership

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Farming

A Newbie network aimed at helping new entrants overcome barriers when starting out in farming is being rolled out

With new entrants to agriculture facing a high quantity of barriers in developing sustainable farming businesses, Newbie - a network for new entrants - aims to help new entrants to overcome these barriers.

New entrants face common barriers such as: access to land, labour, capital, housing, markets, knowledge and the networks needed to acquire these resources.

The NEWBIE network offers a unique platform by bringing together new entrants, successors, advisors, researchers, important regional and national actors and relevant stakeholders in national networks.

It will feature the development and dissemination of new business models, including new entry models, to the full range of new entrants - from successors to complete newcomers to the agricultural sector.

New entrants are defined in the Newbie network as anyone who starts a new farm business or becomes involved in an existing farm business. They can comprise of a wide range of ages, agricultural experience and resource access.

With this in mind, Teagasc have profiled many farmers from throughout the country, who are new entrants into a certain sector of agriculture.

Two Longford farmers were among the featured case studies and have shared the benefits they have experienced since entering into a farm partnership.

Those two farmers are Patrick and Padraig O’Farrell, a father and son duo running a dairy farm in their home county.

Patrick explained, “I took over the farm in 1980. I was milking 45 cows and rearing calves to beef on 160 acres.

Patrick, “The idea of the partnership was to get my son involved.”

The partnership began in 2015 upon Padraig’s return home from college, after completing a level 8 degree in Agriculture. He is an only son and was “always out farming from a young age” and soon realised he had to earn an income from somewhere.

Padraig said, “I went to college and done a level 8 degree in sustainable agriculture and came home in 2015 to set up a partnership.

“We got some help from Teagasc and our financial advisor gave us help as well and we went ahead with the partnership in 2015.”

The benefits of which the pair of Longford farmers say are plentiful.

Patrick explained, “It eased off some of the workload, having my son at home helping,”

Padraig added, “I wasn’t setting out a farm myself, farming on my own 24/7, I had my father here to take up workloads when things were getting too much.

“We can go on holidays. We don’t have to worry about external employment coming in.

“The partnership has made farming so much easier. There’s that work life balance.

“Expanding milk production is now on the table. The partnership is also allowing us to consider these other options and to push on with the farm and grow sustainably.”

When asked of any advice for other farmers considering entering into a partnership, Padraig said, “Know who you are getting into the partnership with.”

He added, “Find out if you work well together. Maybe work together for a year or 24-months before you actually sign up to a partnership and see how your getting on.

“Get advice. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Ask questions and when your asking them, ask the hard ones.
“Get all of the information you can at the time, before you go into it, so when you do set up a partnership it is the best set up it can be.”

For more information or to watch the O’Farrell’s case study video go to www.teagasc.ie/newbie or longfordleader.ie/farming.