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24 May 2022

Kilkenny farm families encouraged to sign up for free ‘Farming 360’ programme

Kilkenny Kilkenny

Declan Rice, CEO Kilkenny LEADER Partnership

Teagasc, the IFA, ICMSA, Macra na Feirme and more have teamed up with Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP) to host free, 11-week programmes for farm families which are designed to help them improve their traditional and digital skills, learn about alternative farm futures and so much more.

Any farm family in the Leinster and Southeast area is eligible to sign up for the landmark Farming 360 programme. Over the course of each 11-week course participants will hone practical skills like dry stone walling, hedgerow laying and maintenance and computers.

There will be advice and help on staying up to date on and understanding evolving farm regulation from trusted experts and farm bodies as well as much-needed time to unwind with some fun adventure pursuits at the course venue, Castlecomer Discovery Park.

The in-depth programme is being offered in collaboration with IT Carlow, Trinity College Dublin, Mental Health Ireland and Forestry Services Ltd and it is hoped that if successful, the pilot initiative might be rolled out nation-wide.

The far-reaching programme is designed to give a 360 view of farming today and address some of the demands that are placed on farm families. While Farming 360 features a blend of practical skills, training and information, it and also focuses on Health & Safety Practices, changes to the upcoming Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) as well as modules in health and wellbeing.

Given the time constraints involved in modern family life, participants are asked to attend for just one day a week, plus one evening session over the 11 weeks. The initial pilot programme for the first group starts from March 14 with other dates timed to fit in with the farm calendar. Farm families are invited to sign up for this or future dates by contacting Conor Cleere at Kilkenny LEADER Partnership at  0567752111 or 0868165700 or conor.cleere@cklp.ie

John Keane, National President, Macra na Feirne, said: “As farmers and rural people engaging proactively in our wellbeing and overall health is something we need to constantly improve and work on. This programme affords the opportunity for farmers to be in a setting which is all inclusive and address challenges in an open and friendly way while facilitating discussions with like-minded people.”

Richard O’Brien, Teagasc Regional Manager for Waterford/Kilkenny, said: “Teagasc understands the continuing pressures and anxieties that are experienced among the farming community. This can be seen through the day to day interaction between advisors and clients, and particularly during the series of lockdowns during the Covid pandemic.

“We welcome the opportunity for farmers to engage in the Farmer 360 programme, where they can experience the fantastic amenities available in the Castlecomer Discovery Park, re engage with traditional skills and be part of information sessions that will highlight the many changes that will occur in farming over the next decade and beyond.”

Declan Rice, CEO,  Kilkenny LEADER Partnership, said: “We’re conscious that family farms are busy places with lots of demands on a farmer’s time and skills. This programme has been designed to help farm families by bringing them together, sharing information and experiences in a supportive learning environment while also getting them to enjoy some quality time off farm. It’s something we’ve all missed over the course of the pandemic and has made farms even more isolating places to live and work at times.

“Working with our partners, we want to give participants a 360 vision of the farming sector and industry not just in Ireland but in Europe. Places on each programme are limited and we would encourage any farm family interested in participating to book their place now.”

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