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A successful Registered Farm Partnership in south Tipperary


Keeping the February 11 deadline in mind, Gordon Peppard Teagasc Collaborative Farming Specialist, meets organic farmers Pat and Angela Mulrooney embarking on a successful Registered Farm Partnership (RFP) with their son Mark, in south Tipperary

Photo above: Pat and Mark Mulrooney, organic farmers forming an RFP, with Gordon Peppard, Teagasc.

A successful RFP in south Tipperary

Farming in Manganstown, 10km west of Carrick-on-Suir in south Tipperary, Pat and Angela Mulrooney having been running a successful organic dairy enterprise for many years. They are currently in the process of establishing a Registered Farm Partnership (RFP) with their son Mark before the closing date deadline of 11 February 2022.

On meeting Pat and Mark on their farm, I asked them both what their main thoughts and considerations were behind forming a RFP. Pat explained that as we all get older, “we can’t cover as much ground in a day as we would have 20 years ago, so with an increasing workload, taking time away from the farm was becoming more difficult and work life balance was becoming an issue for myself and Angela.” Pat and Angela say they don’t want to retire fully from farming, but are happy to step back and remain part of the business while giving their son Mark the opportunity to become involved. He will have a significant input into the physical and financial management running of the farm business.

A natural succession pathway

“We feel the RFP will facilitate a natural succession pathway for the smooth transition of the farm from one generation to the next and the added financial benefits, such as grants/schemes and the taxation incentives, greatly helped us to make the decision,” adds Pat.

Having spent years working away from the farm, Mark has developed knowledge and experiences in a professional career outside the farm gate. “I’m very glad I took the opportunity to work away from the family farm but now I’m ready to come home to the business,” said Mark. All parties feel that the time is right to form the partnership.

Planning for a Registered Farm Partnership

To help the Mulrooneys decide if the RFP was the correct route to go, they first discussed it with their accountant.

The accountant plays a key role in establishing the RFP – they will:

  • register the new business with Revenue to obtain a tax reference number
  • compile a capital account and
  • decide on a favourable profit sharing ratio for all members.
  • The accountant can also draft the farm partnership agreement
  • complete end of year returns for the partners

A discussion on the taxation implications of future farm transfer is also important to have with the accountant at this stage, so that there are no unexpected tax bills down the road.

Teagasc advice - Pat and Mark also spoke to their local Teagasc advisor Michael Freaney, who, along with myself, were able to advise on:

  • herd number changes
  • Basic Payment Scheme entitlements and
  • other schemes/grants.

Over the last year, Mark completed his Green Certificate (Level 6 Agricultural Qualification) to qualify as a Category 2 partner (trained farmer) in the RFP. Finally, Pat concludes: “To continue having young famers to take over family farms it is vital to create the conditions to allow them have an interest, input and responsibility in the business. Establishing the RFP is the key first step for us as a family.”

Gordon Peppard Teagasc Collaborative Farming Specialist has also written this article  Time to move if forming a Registered Farm Partnership which is full of useful advice if you are considering forming a Registered Farm Partnership.

For advice on forming a RFP, please contact your local Teagasc office . Read more here from Teagasc about Collaborative Farming and Succession Farm Partnerships

This article was first published in Teagasc's bi-monthly magazine, Today's Farm. You can read more articles from Today's Farm - January/February 2022 here