Collaborative Farming Arrangements
Irish farm structures have for some time been deficient in terms of age profile, farm size & skill set. In 2007 the age profile of Irish farmers was 55 years & only 6.9% of all farmers were under 35 years. These deficiencies pose a threat to farm viability and limit the options for taking advantage of the many growth opportunities to 2020.
Greater use of collaborative farming arrangements can help redress the current deficits and help deliver on the ambitious targets in Food Harvest 2020.
The main benefits of a collaborative arrangement are:
- Economic – a collaborative arrangement can offer farmers increased returns through the ability to achieve scale at a lower capital cost; the reduction of costs which are duplicated between farmers; and risk sharing.
- Skills – The possibility of sharing best farming and business management practice.
- Social – Joint farming ventures can help to address the social challenge of the ‘one man farm’ model making farming a more attractive occupation.
The main collaborative arrangements being encouraged in Ireland are:
- Registered Farm Partnerships
- Share Farming (mainly suitable for the Crops sector)
- Contract Rearing of Replacement Heifers