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Farm Business Options Webinar Series

A weekly Teagasc webinar ‘Farm Business Options featured news, views and interviews on current topics relevant to farm business diversification in Irish Agriculture. Farm Business Options commenced on October 13th 2020. The Series, presented by Barry Caslin, Teagasc Energy & Rural Development Specialist featured guest presenters focusing on various topics of interest weekly. 

Previous Webinars

The previous webinars dealt with a wide range of topics including: 

  • Steps towards an on farm diversification
  • Coping with the pressures of farming
  • Adding value to farm produced food
  • Insurance issues
  • Free range egg production 
  • Organic farming and farm shop
  • Boat and bike hire
  • Glamping
  • Buffalo farming
  • Yogurt making
  • Health enterprises 
  • Quail farming
  • Tea rooms
  • Self catering accommodation
  • Camping kettles
  • Open farm
  • Goat farming
  • Solar PV (Solar Panels)
  • The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH)

There are case studies from counties: Cork, Leitrim, Longford, Mayo and Roscommon. 

See below for more information and to view webinars

Insects Spark interest in Research and Farming Projects

Tuesday, 8th June: While B&B's and farm shops are the obvious diversification choice for many, an unusual option may appeal to some – insect production for food or feed.

Barry Caslin was joined by Carlos Álvarez García, Teagasc Research Officer and Carl Coudron, Inagro, Belgium who are involved in the Valusect - Valuable inSects Interreg project and Lynda Bolger from Celtic Cricket Farm, Ireland's first cricket farmer to discuss the rising global popularity with insect farming.

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Find out more about the ValuSect - Valuable Insects project here

Opportunities for Cut Foliage growers

Tuesday, 1st June: Cut foliage is vegetation used in large quantities as a source of decoration on its own or in association with flowers in bouquets. Evergreen plants with green, silver or variegated leaves are usually used and species with berries are now also becoming popular.

Barry Caslin was joined by Teagasc Cut Foliage Ornamentals Specialist Andy Whelton and Jim Costello of Forest Produce to discuss business options around cut foliage.

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Find out more about cut foliage here or view a factsheet on Outdoor Cut Foliage

BIA Innovator Campus – Transforming Food Entrepreneurship

Tuesday, 25th May: BIA Innovator Campus is a collaboration space for food producers comprised of own door production units, shared production facilities, culinary training kitchens, an auditorium, business support centre and hot desk space. This will be Ireland’s premier food innovation hub.

Barry Caslin Teagasc spoke to Elaine Donohue, BIA Innovator Campus General Manager and Colm Foley, Teagasc Food Technologist, BIA Innovator Campus CLG to get an insight into the facilities and supports available at the BIA Innovator Campus in Athenry, Co. Galway for food entrepreneurs.

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Farm Tech and Agri Innovation

Tuesday, 18th May: Agricultural technology has made huge leaps forward over the past number of years which has enabled farmers to work smarter, not just harder. On this episode of Farm Business Options, host Barry Caslin, Teagasc was joined by James Maloney, Enterprise Ireland; David Leydon, IFAC and Pius McCloat, Suip Manufacturing to discuss growth in the AgTech sector, supports and opportunities for innovative development.

Farm Diversification in Germany’s Black Forest Region

Tuesday, 11th May: Hannelore Green, an Agricultural Advisor from the Landratsamt Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald joined Barry Caslin, Teagasc on a recent Farm Business Options webinar to discuss farm diversification and tourism in Germany's Black Forest Region. Hannelore outlined developments within this Region and her work as an Agricultural Advisor. Hannelore also discussed organic farming, agritourism, artisan food and renewable energy adoption in the Region.

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Farm Diversification in Austria

Tuesday, 4th May: Austria has long been a popular choice for farm stay holidays; its mix of dramatic scenery and quiet peaceful rural charm being surely best appreciated from some of the lovely classically Austrian farmhouses that dot its countryside. Host Barry Caslin was joined by a local farm advisor and two diversified agri-tourism farmers to get an insight into their journey and supports available for such enterprises in Austria.


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Collaborative Farming Options

Tuesday, 27th April: Collaborative Farming Agreements and Land Leasing are options for those who want to step back from day to day operations but in some cases retain their “farmer” status and occupation of the land for tax, subsidy and lifestyle reasons. Barry Caslin discussed the various collaborative agreements on offer with Gordon Peppard, Teagasc Farm Structures Specialist.

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View Farm Management factsheets here

Where are the opportunities in commercial horticulture?

Tuesday, 20th April: With many diversifications struggling during the pandemic, we take a look at the horticulture sector, to see if it is an enterprise worth considering. Dermot Callaghan, Head of the Horticulture Development Department at Teagasc joined Barry Caslin to discuss the sector; trends currently favouring the sector; where the possible opportunities are; and what could be next steps to accessing these opportunities. 

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View factsheets on Horticulture here

Organic Farming – Steps to Conversion and Opportunities

Tuesday, 13th April: Barry Caslin was joined by Elaine Leavy Teagasc Organic Specialist and Clive Bright (Organic grass only farmer, Sligo) to discuss the Organic Farming Scheme currently open for applications, balancing profit and sustainability, key considerations and opportunities which organic farming can offer.

Moderator: Barry CaslinTeagasc Energy & Rural Development Specialist
Elaine Leavy, Teagasc Organic Specialist 
Clive BrightRare Ruminare | Facebook 

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Diversification in Donegal

Tuesday, 6th April: The income generated by diversification is a vital component of many farming businesses – but it can involve unfamiliar planning, legal, staffing, plus health and safety issues. Seamus Campbell spoke to diversification champions from Donegal about tips and advice to guide you through your diversification journey. This webinar provided information to help you to set up and run a new food enterprise on your farm.

Moderator: Seamus Campbell, Teagasc Donegal
Noreen & James Cunningham, Donegal Farmhouse Cheese | Facebook Page | Twitter Page
John Graham, Ballyholey Farm ShopFacebook Page | Twitter Page
Andrew Ward, Inishowen Development Partnership | Facebook Page | Twitter Page

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Driving Diversification Through Social Media

Tuesday, 30th March: Website content and social media will raise the profile of your business. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube are the most prevalent social networking sites, with LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat and Whatsapp also popular among different demographics. The rise in popularity of these digital platforms means they have large audiences with whom farmers can have direct conversations. Barry Caslin was joined by Lisa Dunphy from Green Acre Marketing to discuss Social Media business options.

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Digitalisation to transform agriculture in Ireland

Tuesday, 23rd March: Barry Caslin was joined by Teagasc colleagues Stuart Green and Áine Regan to discuss the digital technologies which can be adopted today and the impact of these technologies including the socio-economic, behavioural and cultural issues that may arise from their adoption. Peter Mc Shane from GLAS Energy Technology discussed solutions for energy, water & environmental monitoring.

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Farm Diversification in Co. Laois

Tuesday, 16th March: Webinar host, Peter Doolan, Teagasc Laois was joined by three local farmers who have diversified their family farms into organic dairying, soft food produce and angling in order to generate additional income.

Moderator: Peter Doolan, Teagasc Laois
Michael and Kevin Phelan, Rose Cottage Fruit Farm | Facebook Page 
John and Enda Phelan, Laois Angling Centre | Facebook Page 
Thomas and Alan Phelan, Organic Dairy Farmers, Mountrath, Co. Laois

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Agri-Tourism and Poultry in Cavan

Tuesday, 9th March: Webinar host, Bernard Doorley, Teagasc Offaly was joined by three local farmers who have diversified their family farms into agri-tourism and poultry in order to generate additional income.

Moderator: Bernard DoorleyTeagasc Offaly (Organised by Roslyn Fay, Teagasc Cavan)
Sean Thorton, Cavan Adventure Centre | Facebook | Twitter 
Pauric McGeartyCarafin Lodge | Facebook 
Margaret Farrelly, Margaret's Eggs | Facebook | Twitter

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Social Farming

Tuesday, 2nd March: Accessing an agricultural holding on a regular basis can help a wide range of people with a vulnerability improve their health and wellbeing and build social skills. Supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine (DAFM), Helen Doherty, Social Farming Ireland, explains what anyone considering running a Social Farm enterprise needs to know. Two social dairy farmers, John Murphy from Kildinan Co. Cork and Jennifer Payne from Tulsk, Co. Roscommon give an insight into their experiences to date.

Moderator: Barry Caslin, Teagasc Energy & Rural Development Specialist
Helen Doherty, National Social Farming Co-ordinator, Social Farming Ireland
John Murphy, Dairy Farmer, Kildinan, Co. Cork
Jennifer Payne, Dairy Farmer, Tulsk, Co. Roscommon 

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Award-winning potato, cheese and pet farm enterprises in Co. Cork

Tuesday, 23rd February: Webinar host, Aisling Molloy, Drystock Advisor, Teagasc Kanturk was joined by a panel of guests to discuss Award-winning potato, cheese and pet farm enterprises in Co. Cork. The panellists gave an insight into their journey diversifying from traditional farming to potato, cheese and pet farm enterprises.


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Enterprising and Sustainable Energy Communities in Louth and Kerry

Tuesday, 16th February: Diversifying into non-farming business ventures is now almost an essential for farmers who want to secure their financial survival. This webinar focused on the key steps involved in farm diversification. There is a growing interest in rural participation in various energy communities programmes. Deirdre de Bhailís, Dingle Hub Manager gave an insight into how dairy farmers in West Kerry plan to reduce their energy costs and generate renewable electricity. Kevin O'Sullivan, Teagasc discussed the ECCO - Creating new local Energy Community Co-Operatives, which is part of an InterReg IV project.

Moderator: Barry Caslin, Teagasc Energy & Rural Development Specialist
Gerry Reaburn, Rural Community Development Specialist and Renewable Energy Researcher
Deirdre de BhailísDingle Creativity and Innovation Hub Manager
Kevin O’Sullivan, Teagasc Kerry/Limerick Advisor 

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Farm Diversification in the Burren Region of County Clare

Tuesday, 9th February: In this webinar, Martina Enright, Teagasc Clare was joined by three champions in the Burren Region, two of which diversified their farm business into food and the other established an Agri-tourism business. Gloria Callinan from Clare Local Development Company also outlined the funding and supports available to farmers. 

Moderator: Martina Enright, Teagasc Clare
Siobhán Ní Gháirbhith, St Tola Irish Goats Cheese
Brid Fahy, Linnalla Pure Irish Ice Cream
Sean Davoren, Caherconnell Stone Fort 
Gloria Callinan, Clare Local Development Company


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Value added food production in the Kerry/Limerick Region

Tuesday, 2nd February: Farmers often ask the question ‘how can I make more money from the food produced on my farm?’. In this webinar, Padraig Fitzgerald, Teagasc Kerry/Limerick will be talking to two farmers who did just that. They will give an insight into why they diversified into adding extra value to their food and how they did it. The panel will also be looking at the steps of how to diversify your farm and the supports that are available to farmers. 

Moderator: Padraig Fitzgerald, Teagasc Kerry/Limerick
Nick Cotter, Cotter Organic Lamb  
Kate Carmody
Beal Organic Cheese  
John Hassett
Ballyhoura Development CLG

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Irish Farmers Connecting to the Grid

Tuesday, 26th January: On-site generation of renewable electricity has become an element of many farming businesses across Europe. Barry Caslin, Teagasc discusses options for micro-generation, community projects and large scale options for the Agri-industry to produce and sell renewable electricity whilst de-carbonising electricity production in Ireland.

Grainne Blount, Natural Forces
Tom MarrenAstatine – Combined Energy Solutions
Rory MullanMullanGrid Consulting

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View a factsheet on On-site Electricity Generation

Opportunities for Industrial Hemp in Irish Agriculture

Tuesday, 19th January: This webinar gave an insight into the various uses for industrial hemp and its impacts on the modern day world! But what exactly is hemp? Is it legal and safe to use? How exactly can hemp be used? Barry Caslin, Teagasc dives into these questions with farmers and industry specialists.

Liam Donohue, Technological University Dublin (Hemp Insulation) 
Alan Jackson, Cereal Entrepreneur, Senior Energy Engineer and Organic Farmer grower 
Killian McGrath, Remedy Health and farmer grower

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View factsheet on Industrial Hemp Production

Farm Diversification in Roscommon & Longford

Date: Tuesday, 12th January - This webinar outlined the panellists stories including free range egg production, organic farming and farm shop and boat and bike hire.  

Moderator: Donal McCabe, Teagasc Longford
Shirley & Derek O’Halleran - O’Halleran’s Family Farm 
Justina & Liam Gavin - Dumanilra Organic Farm  
Padraig Corcoran - Lough Ree Boat & Bike Hire

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Farm Diversification in Cork West

Date: Tuesday, 22nd December - Three local farmers discuss their diversification experiences. Enterprises included value added dairy products, glamping and buffalo farming and products. 

Moderators: Áine O'Riordan & Seamus Lordan, Teagasc Cork West 
Alan & Valerie Kingston, Glenilen Farm
David & Elizabeth Ross, Top of the Rock Pod Park and walking Centre 
Johnny Lynch, Macroom Buffalo Farm

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The Farm: feeding the mind and body

Tuesday, 15th December - This webinar demonstrated how two farms have diversified their enterprises with one focusing on providing high quality, healthy organic dishes, while the other hopes to use nature, the environment and art therapy to provide mindfulness and wellbeing to its customers.

Moderator: Rachel Taylor, Teagasc Kildare
Stephen and Heidi Morrison, Creative Retreat Centre in Kill   
James FennellGreen Barn at Burtown House in Athy
Helen Mulhall, LEADER

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Diversifying the Farming Business in Leitrim

Tuesday, 8th December - Hear about short to medium-term business intentions and motivations, and how to work out if diversification is right for your farm. Enterprises featured - self-catering eco lodge, coffee shop/tea house and a quail farm.

Moderator: Cian Condon, Teagasc Leitrim
Panellists: Nuala McNulty, Tawnylust Lodge 
Helen HayGlencar teaSHED
Cianán Redmond, 12 Quail Farm

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View factsheet on: Self Catering Accommodation

Farm Diversification in Mayo

Tuesday, 1st December - Are you a Farm Diversification Business at pre-start, start-up or growing during a period of rapid change and uncertainty? Anne O’ Malley, Teagasc Mayo Investigates Enterprising Ventures Keeping Mayo Farms Alive. 

Catherine O’ Grady-Powers & Family, Glen Keen Farm 
Joe Reilly & Family, Glasraí Organic Farm
Patrick & Seamus Kelly, The Kelly Kettle Company 
Fionnán Nestor, Fáilte Ireland

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Walking towards Wellness

Tuesday, 24th November - Bernard Doorley, Teagasc Offaly discusses on farm diversifications with a focus on coping with the pressures of farming. 

Finola Colgan, Mental Health Ireland 
Alastair Ferrar, Landscape Architect & Ecological Designer 
Peter Devlin Ma. MAIHIP, Eco Psychotherapist

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Adding value to farm produced food 

Tuesday, 17th November - Artisan is the buzzword in today’s food and drink sector. It means producing food in small batches while using a range of flavours, with emphasis on a freshly made product.

Eddie O'Neill & Carol Griffin, 
Loretta Kennedy, Mama Bear Foods 

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Tell me everything I need to know about goats

Tuesday, 10th November - We are seeing more interest in goat dairy and meat businesses. This webinar looks at how they can be set up and managed. Cian Condon explores the option of goat farming in Ireland

Sharon Peacock, Cockerham Goats
Michael Finegan, Boyne Valley Farmhouse Cheese

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Insurance around farm diversifications

Tuesday, 3rd November - Farm insurance covers the policyholder only for the business of farming. The first rule on diversifying is to inform your insurer or broker of any changes or plans. 

Stewart Gavin & Ciaran Roche, FBD Insurance
Graham Kenny, Bike Park Ireland

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View factsheet - Insurance Tips


Solar Photovoltaic (PV) – Questions for solar developers

Tuesday, 27th October - Land owners are currently being approached by solar developers to sign option and lease agreements for solar or wind projects. This webinar focused on the do’s and dont’s of such agreements.

James McDonnell, Teagasc Farm Management Specialist 
James StainesPrincipal of Staines Law 
Declan McEvoy, Head of Tax, IFAC 

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View factsheet - Solar PV (Solar Panels)

Steps towards an on farm diversification

Tuesday, 20th October - This webinar focused on the common mistakes and key points to consider when starting a farm diversification enterprise.

Presenter: Allen McAdam, CEO, MCA Consulting

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View factsheet - Planning a Farm Diversification

The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH)

Tuesday, 13th October - The SSRH presents an opportunity for commercial and industrial heat users to meet their heating demands with renewable sources of heat, and to meet the costs of same with government assistance.

Ray Langton, SSRH Programme Manager, SEAI 
Sean Finan, CEO, Irish Bioenergy Association (Irbea)

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