TWENTY-five young farmers attended an information session in Dooly’s Hotel, Birr last Tuesday week, February in what was the first in a series of Offaly Macra Young Farmer Initiatives.
The event kicked off with first time voters engaging in an open forum with Anne-Marie Green of RTE Radio 1. Those who never voted in a general election previously gave their opinions on the candidates, family voting patterns and the effect the incoming government would have on the country’s future.
Most surprising was that over 80% present were completely open to hearing what candidates had to say as they are undecided as to whom to give their first vote to. Some of the session was broadcast on Sunday’s ‘This Week’ programme on Radio 1.
Ronan Kilaughton, a Safety Inspector from the HSA, spoke to the group explaining the importance of farm safety. He displayed some shocking images of the consequences of farm accidents and everyone learned how easy it is to reduce many of the main risk areas on the farm.
With a stark increase in the number of farmers killed while felling trees the group examined all the literature on the proper procedure for maintaining and felling trees and everyone took home a booklet on proper chainsaw use.
He also stressed to the young audience how many young people are involved in accidents – the trend is now across the board and not just mainly affecting children and older famers as used be the case.
Some of the young farmers pointed out the ban on cutting turf had a huge impact in the Birr area and would have an effect on the amount of timber being cut and this was an area that needed to be looked at.
Declan O’Meara of Kingswood showed all those in attendance the herd, grass and accounts management packages available to farmers. Particularly the dairy farmers present showed a huge interest in moving to digital record keeping; the expressed concern over the severe penalties in place for a genuine human error on paperwork and the duplication required. They received a display on working all systems and even the benefits of a palm pilot in the parlour!
Attendees worked through keeping AI records, ICBF records, mart and factory files and even working out grass availability on farm with the click of a button.
The next event to be held by the group will be a tour of Belmac engineering and an introductory lesson on Grass Measurement. This will take place on March 6 and anyone interested in getting involved aged 17-35 can contact the group through the local training officer Brigid on 086 0822038.