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Teagasc Economic Conference

The 2011 Teagasc economic outlook conference will take place against a background of an improvement in farm incomes in 2010. The conference will take place in the Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise on Thursday, 20 January.

The recently published CSO annual income figures for 2010 show a welcome increase in aggregate farm incomes. However, farmers will be aware that the increase in overall agricultural income has not been uniform across all farm enterprises. At the January conference, Teagasc economists will provide a detailed review and outlook for the main enterprises, the trends in input costs and farmers’ investment plans.

Speaking in advance of the conference Teagasc Economist Thia Hennessy said: "Few sectors of the Irish economy export such a large proportion of their output. In 2009 the steep drop in agricultural income reflected the difficult economic conditions that prevailed internationally. However, the strong recovery in 2010 has occurred largely on the back of higher international prices for some of the main commodities. With this increased value of exports, the Irish agricultural sector is contributing to the recovery in the overall Irish economy."

Trevor Donnellan from the Teagasc Agricultural Economics Department said; "The variability in farm incomes over the last three years has been very pronounced, due mainly to volatility in output prices and feed, fertiliser and energy costs. In 2011 it seems that higher input costs are on the horizon, so this pattern of income volatility looks set to continue." With this in mind, the final session of the conference, which will include contributions from stakeholders across the sector, will address the impact of price volatility on farmers’ incomes and will explore methods to reduce exposure to price risk.