10 Benefits of joining a Teagasc Discussion Group
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What is a Discussion Group?
Discussion Groups consist of local farmers who meet regularly on farms to see, discuss and learn about technologies and practices that may be applied on their own farms. Typically discussoin groups consist of 10 to 15 farmers, who meet between 6 and 12 times per year.
How can a Teagasc Discussion Group benefit you?
- Make More Money
Research shows that farmers in discussion groups make more money than farmers who aren't, because technologies are more rapidly adopted.
- A Good Social Network
Farming can be lonely. Difficult weather and market conditions can make the going really tough at times. Groups get you out of your own working environment and give you a chance to share your farming experiences, good or bad, with likeminded individuals.
- Personal Development
Discussion group members learn how to interact with others, share information and grow their self-confidence. Many farmers have gone on to contribute to the industry or their local community following their personal development in groups e.g. chairperson of local sports club, community group etc..
- Receive technical information at the right time
Discussion group members have a mix of experience and educational qualifications. Timely technical information from fellow discussion group members, facilitators, can help make the best decisions for what you face on your farm that month.
- Public Responsibility
Groups pride themselves in creating a positive public perception of farming and the environment that they work and live in. This helps to enhance the image of food production and local countryside management.
- You'll do more planning
Good discussion groups formulate an annual plan with scheduled meetings for the year. Members replicate this annual plan for their farming practices e.g. start date for breeding, end date of breeding etc. This provides structure to your farming year and a better lifestyle.
Progress made by discussion group members is underpinned by the positive support that they receive from their group. Farming constantly changes, being with a positive group will help you deal better with these changes.
- Benchmarking Farm Performance
On many farms off-farm income acts as a cushion for the farm finances. Completing the annual Teagasc Profit Monitor puts focus on farming finance. Group members say the Teagasc Profit Monitor result’s meeting is the most important of the year.
- Awareness of Schemes
A sizeable portion of drystock income comes from successful participation in schemes like GLAS, BDGP, BEEP etc. Your facilitator and fellow members can contribute advice on the rules of these schemes and their appropriateness for group members.
- Problem Solving
Someone else in the group has seen it happen before and can point you in the right
direction. This is crucial during a crisis.
What Discussion Group Members have said?
"The social aspect has been vital in keeping the group together over the years. Being able to share your farming experiences and use group meetings to solve problems on your farm is invaluable."
"I hosted a group meeting in July. I was in denial about the drought, thinking we’d have rain any day.
After the meeting I followed the plan set out by the group. I was in control of my forage situation for
the rest of the drought and had my winter feed sorted."
How can you join?
Contact your local Teagasc regional office below who will put you in contact with a local facilitator that will find a group for you. Also, if a group of like minded farmers come together, a new group can be formed. A Teagasc client can become a group member for €100-€150 depending on farm size and structure.