Teagasc are in the process of developing a Regional Farm Labour Database that would link farm families where a farmer or a farm worker becomes ill with COVID 19, with an available relief worker.
This new database is being developed in collaboration with the Farm Relief Services (FRS), and with the support of the farm organisations IFA and ICMSA.
Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle, said: “We are encouraging farmers, rural dwellers and students with capacity and skills to help out with farm tasks such as milking, calf rearing, grassland management, silage and meal feeding and general farm duties, to contact Teagasc advisory and register on a locally held database.”
“With their consent, their details would be shared with farm families via the Farm Relief Services (FRS), in the event of a farmer becoming ill with Covid-19.”
Thomas Curran, Manager of the Teagasc Cork West advisory region said: “If you are available to work on farms to assist fellow farmers during this period, please ring the designated Teagasc regional number, or your local Teagasc office.”
“You will be registered on the Teagasc Regional Labour Database. With your permission, your details will be passed to FRS and they will contact you in the event of a farmer needing assistance.”
Peter Byrne, CEO of FRS, commented: “In this time of uncertainty we must make every effort to prepare for the impact a spread of Covid-19 may have on individual farmers. While FRS have a substantial database of experienced operators, we must plan for a situation where demand for FRS operators increases dramatically.”
“This joint initiative between Teagasc and FRS, supported by the farming organisations, will help identify suitable people that FRS can call on, if required. Geographical location can sometimes be an issue in matching farmers who require additional labour with available operators. Increasing the database of suitably trained and experienced people should help in such situations.”
This initiative will prove to be very important through this difficult time, according to Brian Rushe, IFA Deputy President. He said: “We have encouraged farmers to complete their Plan B form on our Covid19 information hub, which would allow somebody filling in to get working straight away.”
“In the event of a farmer having to self-isolate, anybody taking over has to have the full picture of how the farm works and what has to be done to complete day-to-day tasks.”
The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association have supported the initiative, with president Pat McCormack saying it gave a degree of reassurance to farmers. “Some farmers will get sick and we need to put plans in place to replace labour on farms. We fully support this initiative from Teagasc and FRS.”
If you want to register to the database, here is a list of contact details.
|Teagasc Region||Office||Contact number|
|Carlow, Wicklow, Wexford||Johnstown Castle||053-9171350|
|Dublin, Meath, Louth, Laois, Kildare||Naas||045-879203|
|Offaly, Monaghan, Cavan, Westmeath||Tullamore||057-9321405|
|Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo||Ballymote||071-9183369|