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The PAC Ireland International Conference will take place on February
2, 2018, in the Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny. The theme of the conference
is `Smart Farming ­ Agricultural Contractors and Farmers Working
Together'. Keynote speaker will be Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for
Agriculture and Rural Development
Smart technology is the future. The EU
farming strategy, `Europe 2020', calls for
smart, sustainable and inclusive growth
and sets the strengthening of research
and innovation as one of its five main
With an impressive line-up of speakers, the
Professional Agricultural Contractors of
Ireland (PAC) has organised a conference
to bridge the gap between the theory
of smart farming and its practical and
financially rewarding practice on Irish
farms. Irish farmers and agricultural
contractors need more direction as to what
is possible, affordable and will deliver a
return on investment. This conference, on
February 2, is certain to deliver many of the
PAC chairman, Michael Sheehan, describes
the conference: "It is about being informed
on how farmers, agricultural contractors
and the machinery trade can work
together, employing smart technologies
to their fullest potential to produce more
for less, in an accessible and straight
forward forum." The lead sponsor of the
PAC conference is FBD, with Carbery
Plastics Ltd and Tama UAT Ireland also
providing sponsorship support. While FBD
is the main Irish farm insurer, Carbery
Plastics is well known for providing
liquid and chemical storage facilities for
the agricultural community, while Tama
Ireland was set up in 2006 and has brought
together leading manufacturers of twine,
netwrap and stretchwrap, including the
Tamanet+ and Tama Twine range of
Conference delegates will hear from
machinery companies, Rauch and
Pöttinger, which will present the latest
smart machinery solutions. Farmer and
contractor Kevin Nolan from Carlow and
Jacob van den Borne from Netherlands
will discuss how smart farming has
revolutionised their businesses and how
to recognise the real added value of smart
technology. The successful implementation
of digital farming depends upon access
to reliable high-speed broadband. Denis
Naughten, Minister for Communications,
Climate Action and Environment, will
outline the Government's National
Broadband Plan (NBP), while Dr Francis
Mullany, 5G research strategist with Nokia,
will cover the evolution and revolution
in wireless technology, enabling smart
agriculture. The presidents of the Irish
Farmers' Association and Macra na Feirme,
Joe Healy and James Healy, respectively,
will also talk at the conference.
Richard Markwell, president of CEMA
(the machinery trade representative
body in Europe), and a former director
of Massey Ferguson and AGCO, will give
a global perspective on developments in
farm machinery and Graham McHugh,
president, FTMTA, will also provide a
briefing on the Irish machinery trade.
This event will be of huge interest and
benefit to agricultural contractors, farmers,
farm advisers, machinery trade and, indeed,
anyone with an interest in the future of
Irish agriculture.
PAC Ireland is hugely grateful to FBD
Insurance for supporting agricultural
contractors and coming on board as lead
sponsor. FBD Insurance has been tailoring
insurance packages to the individual needs
of farmers and contractors for over 50
The company is delighted to have the
opportunity to highlight and discuss safety
issues at this conference, where its risk
manager, Ciaran Roche, will be giving a
presentation. It will also have staff available
to discuss any individual requirements or
queries which members may have.
To book: visit the PAC Ireland website or
contact PAC Ireland. Tickets are 25 and
include refreshments, two-course lunch
and parking.
potentially greater access for Irish
goods to these important markets.
On the subject of free-trade
agreements, as a small open economy,
Ireland supports trade liberalisation
and recognises the benefits of trade
agreements with third countries, which
can potentially give rise to increased
exports and job creation. However,
such agreements must be balanced
and must serve both our offensive and
defensive interests. We will continue
to adopt a prudent and appropriate
approach in exploiting potential
opportunities and defending ourselves
against potential threats.
Looking towards 2018, my Department
is currently finalising arrangements
with Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland for
a trade mission to the US and Canada
in early spring. These missions will
again include participants from across
the agri-food sector and will feature
extensive trade contacts as well as
high-level political discussions. The US
is the largest food and beverage market
in the world and has a population of
324 million people. Around 35 million
Americans claim Irish ancestry and
many aspects of the American market
are attractive to Irish exporters.
This and the other missions that my
Department is planning for 2018 will
serve to enhance and improve our
existing levels of market access in
these destinations. It will also promote
Ireland's reputation as a producer
of high-quality, safe and sustainably
produced meat and dairy products.
My Department will continue to seek
out and identify new markets, and I
am ready to respond as appropriate to
other opportunities that may arise.
And, of course, I hope that 2018 will
be a successful one for all of those
involved in the agri-food sector in
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