Here at That’s Farming, we are introducing a new ‘Farm Business’ series.
In the first segment, we look at five ways to help you grow your Farm Business.
- Off-Farm Income
Has been a key player in contributing to farm income for decades, in the form of off-farm spouse income and the farm holder themselves. Obtaining cash outside of the farm gate is becoming a popular option for many.
According to a report prepared by IFA, Farm Income Review 2016, in the drystock and tillage sectors off-farm employment farm holders totalled between 30% and 40%. Dairy farms reported the lowest level of off-farm employment at 10%.
Teagasc National Farm Survey showed that the average farm family income decreased by 9% to €24,060 last year.
- Identifying Forestry Potential
Can money grow on trees? Unproductive marginal land can garner you cash.
The Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme 2014-2020 was introduced to increase the amount of area covered by forestry in Ireland. Fifteen years of annual forest premiums has been allocated to cover 44,000 hectares of forestry. In comparison to an E.U. level at 38%, Ireland reports 11% of the country covers in forestry plantations.. Grants and premiums are payable depending on land classification and GPC. You can find more information about grants and requirements here. and here.
- Maximizing Land Quality & Output – Reseeding
Is grass the cheapest form of food available to the farmer? 2% of our grassland is reseeded annually; 250,000 acres to 320,000 acres according to Teagasc. An issue that must be addressed in order to gain maximum utilisation of grass.
Farmers are reaping the benefits. Reseeding has proven to increase the overall productivity of the farm, increase grass utilisation and allows the establishment of white clover, which is responsible for Nitrogen fixation.
Earlier this year, Teagasc published a pocket manual for Reseeding, you can find that here.
- Scheme Participation-
Improve the quality of your farm business by participating in schemes such as the Basic Payment, Beef Data and Genomics Programme, TAMS, GLAS, Knowledge Transfer Programme and Sheep Welfare Scheme 2017.
Other than the above mainstream schemes, farmers can avail of others including Fodder Aid Scheme 2016 and Bioenergy.
Branching out from the traditional farming methods is becoming a common venture for many.
Several have started the production of deers, specialised yoghurt and cheese production with rare cattle breeds, goats and even sheep, while others have journeyed in the unusual waters of Water-Buffalo keeping. Interest in Snail cultivation, alpaca farming, organic production and farmhouses is now also snowballing. Training programmes and courses have assisted these entrepreneurs to kick-start their business.
The Friendly Farmer Ronan Byrne is an example of such an enterprise that is making waves in other realms. Ronan joined our Editor John Connell on our weekly Podcast. Listen here.