Tom Hayes, T.D. Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine today attended a conference marking the International Year of Family Farming organised by Teagasc and the I.F.A.
In his address, Minister Hayes remarked that “in promoting the concept of family farms, it is important that we have a clear vision of what we are aiming to achieve. Our vision must be to undertake food production and distribution in a manner that is sustainable in all its dimensions – economically, socially and environmentally”.
The Minister commented that one of the challenges facing any farm family was the right options or combination of activities to ensure that the farm enterprise as a whole is profitable and sustainable into the future and added, “As Minister with responsibility for forestry, I would like to suggest forestry as one of the options for any farmer or land owner to consider as part of their farm enterprise. I believe that forestry has huge potential”. He acknowledged that the development of forestry over the last number of decades has been due to landowners, particularly farmers, planting forestry.
The Minister also reminded attendees that “2015 will also see the rollout of a new forestry programme, following extensive consultation with all of the stakeholders involved.”
On farm safety was also an area of concern for the Minister saying that “the horrific statistics on these accidents and deaths continue to show that our farms are the most dangerous workplaces in Ireland. The fact that the death rate this year has risen far above previous years is a particular cause of concern”.
The Minister referred to the recently launched Farm Safety Scheme and remarked that the second tranche of that scheme opened today with a closing date of 9th January 2015. He urged farmers not to be complacent and to use the tools available to them to remedy any dangers on the farm.
Minster Hayes concluded by saying that “for generations family farms have been the backbone of Irish society and I am confident that will remain the case for generations to come”.