Tipperary farming: FRS reaches out to shake hands across the farming borders

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Tipperary farming: FRS reaches out to shake hands across the farming borders

FRS staff and exchange workers at the FRS National offices in Roscrea

New Zealander and Lithuanian farm workers who came to work on Irish farms in Tipperary, Cork, Waterford, Limerick and Cavan enjoyed a sunny Saturday BBQ at the FRS offices in Roscrea.

The groups came to Ireland under the wing of FRS to work as FRS operators and the BBQ was an opportunity to share their experiences with one another and with FRS and for FRS to say thank you to them.

It was very positive for us to hear the great feedback from the young people. The meeting was an opportunity to share their experiences with one another and with FRS and for FRS to say thank you to them, said Peter Byrne, CEO of FRS.

“We have now laid solid foundations to develop going forward and plan to bring in more workers from New Zealand, EU countries and hopefully from non-EU countries now that work permits have been announced by the Government for countries outside of the EEA,” he said.

It was a tough spring for farmers in terms of workload and harsh weather conditions. FRS most certainly saw a 20 per cent increase in demand for services. FRS operators up and down the country knuckled down to business and got through it with the farmers.

Along with sourcing and upskilling workers in Ireland FRS needed to look further afield and have now paved the way to a great source of workers from countries outside of Ireland.

The process of sourcing workers from abroad means extra planning, in terms of logistics and management.

As the source of farm labour is diminishing here in Ireland FRS are proactively putting route-ways in place.

FRS is using its expertise and knowledge to bring the right people in to get the job done and completed to the high standards that is expected from its customers.

6,000 workers needed

In 2017, FRS set up the Dairy Operator Skills Programme in conjunction with Teagasc, the DSP and South East Regional skills to cast the net wider and train people with no or limited farm or milking experience.

“Our first priority is to service our farmers well and we always try to source workers at home before going abroad,” siad Mr Byrne.

He said that the Dairy Operative Skills Programme had proven to be successful training people and adding to the pool of workers, but demand remained higher than the supply.

“I am happy to report that we have made the required contacts outside of Ireland to build on this year and into the future. We have lobbied Government for work permits and we are glad they have responded positively, he said.

Teagasc reports that 6,000 extra workers will need to join Irish dairying between now and 2025 and it is good to see FRS are taking the necessary steps towards finding and training these workers.

If you are interested or know someone who may be interested, visit www.frsfarmrelief.ie/nzexchange or contact Padraig Madden at pmadden@frsnetwork.ie or 0860443945 and keep informed by liking www.facebook.com/nzirelandexchange or www.facebook.com/NewZealandDairyCareers where there are videos on Irish people in New Zealand and about the exchange.