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Minister Simon Coveney urges farmers to consider Farm Partnerships

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today encouraged farmers to consider entering farm partnerships.

"Farm partnerships can bring improved economic returns and social benefits to farm families", Minister Coveney said. "One of the key recommendations of the Food Harvest strategy is that obstacles to farm partnership should be removed". The economic benefits of partnership include increased economies of scale, shared capital investment, removal of duplicate costs, and risk sharing. The partnership model encourages farmers to share best farming and business management practice, thereby increasing their skill set and providing opportunities to diversify into alternative enterprises. Collaborating and farming in partnership can have social benefits as well through reducing isolation, improving the work-life balance and also facilitating succession planning.

The Minister said that "farmers can avail of these benefits while also helping to secure the future of their family farms. Nationally we can all benefit from a wider adoption of this partnership model that will improve farm competitiveness and the achievement of scale at lower cost. This will result in greater productivity, increasing agri-food exports and thereby supporting our export led economic recovery".

The Minister stated that his "Department has produced a useful reference paper on farm partnerships, in collaboration with Teagasc and with input from stakeholders. This reference paper is being published on my Department’s website today. The paper sets out the rationale for partnership, as well as the benefits arising for farmers themselves and for the sector as a whole that I indicated earlier.  It also points to the existing disincentives to partnership".

The Minister also said "I am pleased to announce that Teagasc, a key agency under my remit, proposes to undertake an enhanced programme to support the establishment of partnerships and other models of collaborative farming. This is to involve three key components; action research, promotional activities and administrative support. All of which will assist in promoting the positive benefits and experiences of partnership, and also in providing more in-depth and practical advice to individuals interested in entering a farm partnership".

Minister Coveney concluded by saying that "my own Department will continue to actively work towards the removal of administrative obstacles to farm partnership formation. I would encourage all farmers to reflect on the potential benefits of partnership and other forms of collaboration".

Date Released: 14 November 2011