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Macra na Feirme charts seven-year course
Macra na Feirme has launched its new Strategic
Plan for 2017-2023: `Rurally Active, Engaging &
It sets out a vision for the organisation that will
support it to adapt to the changing face of rural
Ireland and enable it to continue to serve the
needs of Ireland's rural youth.
Speaking at the launch, Macra na Feirme
national president, James Healy, said: "Ireland
and the challenges facing our young people
are continually changing, but this plan shows
that our members are keen to adapt and to
meet them head on. As we approach Macra na
Feirme's 75
anniversary, this strategic plan is
a vital step towards ensuring our organisation
continues to be an important voice for all
young farmers and rural youth.''
To deliver the new plan, Macra embarked
upon a series of consultation workshops in
2017 with members led by strategic planning
consultants, Ciaran Lynch from Community
Engagement Partners and Pat Bogue from
Broadmore Research. There was also broad
consultation with a significant amount of
past and present members, staff, sponsors,
funding departments, and other external
stakeholders. Macra na Feirme chief executive
Denis Duggan thanked everyone for their
contribution to the publication. The Strategic
Plan sets out 11 goals for the organisation.
Among these is a plan to increase membership
and to upskill more of these members to have
deeper engagements with various community
participation fora. Macra will do this through
its own community involvement programme
and through skilling members to participate
through other opportunities such as public
participation networks. There will also be a
greater focus on engagement and outreach. The
organisation said it recognised the financial
constraints within which it operates, and part
of that outreach and broader engagement is
to secure new and diverse funding sources to
support Macra na Feirme's mission.
Macra na Feirme president,
James Healy.
Reasonable prospects for 2018 Teagasc
The Teagasc National Outlook conference in
Dublin on December 5 heard that average
farm incomes in Ireland improved in 2017.
Dr Kevin Hanrahan, head of the Teagasc
Rural Economy and Development
programme, said: "Overall, average farm
income in 2017 is estimated to have
increased by about 30 per cent to about
31,900, compared with 23,500 in 2016.
This increase is driven largely by the
improvement in dairy farm and, to a lesser
extent, tillage farm incomes."
Irish dairy farms incomes have recovered
dramatically in 2017, with farmers finally
seeing the benefits of dairy expansion
in terms of the money in their pocket,
according to Teagasc.
Teagasc economist Dr Emma Dillon said
that the average dairy farm income in
Ireland in 2017 will have exceeded 90,000
the highest ever figure representing an
increase of about 40,000 on the 2016 level.
Beef farm prices improved as the year
progressed. Spring prices for weanlings in
2017 were down on prices in 2016, but
the improvement in finished cattle prices
in the second half of the year has seen
store cattle prices increase. Finished cattle
prices over the year have also improved.
With a benign input price environment,
Dr Jason Loughrey of Teagasc said that
margins on single suckling enterprises
in 2017 will remain stable, while cattle
finishers will see an 8% increase in gross
It was also a better year for pig farmers,
who benefitted from significantly higher
pig prices in the presence of stable feed
costs, according to Teagasc, while income
on sheep farms also improved due to
higher lamb prices and higher support
2017 marked a partial recovery in incomes
on tillage farms, as they experienced an
improvement in cereal and straw prices.
Growers in some regions, particularly in
the northwest of the country, experienced
extremely di icult weather conditions at
2018 outlook
Teagasc said the outlook for dairy is not
as positive as for 2017, with a weakening
in Irish farm milk prices of the order of 10
per cent likely to take place as global milk
supply growth begins to outpace milk
demand growth. Milk production in Ireland
is expected to remain highly profitable,
however, and a further expansion of milk
deliveries of 4 per cent is envisaged in 2018.
Dr Fiona Thorne, Teagasc tillage
economist, said that prospects for tillage
farms will depend on the global harvest in
2018, and on the impact that will have on
cereal prices in Ireland. Barring adverse
weather, tillage farm incomes in 2018
should be in line with 2017 levels.
In 2018, Teagasc expects Irish pig
producers will see their margins drop back
due to lower pig prices.
Teagasc economist Trevor Donnellan said
that, overall, average farm income is likely
to be down in 2018 and is estimated to be
just over 29,800. That would represent a
6 per cent reduction on the estimated 2017
figure. However, this will still mean that
the average farm income in 2018 will be
among the highest experienced in recent
years. The main reason for the anticipated
decline in 2018 will be the drop in dairy
farm incomes.
National Sheep
National Hill Sheep
February, 2018
Knockranny House Hotel, Westport, Co. Mayo
January, 2018
Lough Rea Hotel, Co. Galway
February, 2018
Nuremore Hotel, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan
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