Pictured at the recent meeting were from left Peter Young, Irish Farmers Journal, Philip Donohue, IGA Vice-president , speaker Willie Fahey, IFAC and Donal Callery, Regional Development Officer, IGA
There was a very large attendance in the Lakeside Manor Hotel Co Cavan, for the first regional meeting of the Irish Grassland Association (IGA) in the North East. Up on 100 local farmers turned out, which was a true reflection on the relevance of the topic being discussed “Managing your farm finances”. Speakers included Philip Donohoe (IGA Vice President) as chairman, Pearse Kelly (Past President) and Donal Callery (IGA Regional Development Officer). Guest speakers in attendance were Willie Fahey (CEO of IFAC), Liam Young (IFAC Cavan) & Peter Young (Irish Farmers Journal & RTE’s Higher Ground). In addition to a very informative and comprehensive talk, the speakers held a question & answer session with the audience. Complimentary copies of Willie and Peter’s new booklet “Financial Planning” were given to all in attendance.
Farmers were guided, in the importance of “preparation” prior to meetings with your bank manager and how it’s crucial to work with your existing bank rather than retaliating. Everyone was reminded of the volatility experienced in the farming industry in the 70’s and 80’s. Farming was at an all time high in the late 70’s and slumped in the early 80’s. History seems to be repeating itself and Peter voiced his opinion on how he feels that “farming does have a bright future” and “we must focus inside the farm gate”. Financial planning is crucial and no matter how much we hate the word “cash flow plan”, it is essential. A cash flow plan not only portrays a good impression to your bank manager, but also lets you see what direction your finances are taking. Willie focused on the point that “Banks respond well, to well prepared proposals”. He also asked farmers to “slow down – farmers always want to pay off debt in the shorter term”.
Attending delegates at the IGA meeting on “Managing Your Finances”
Pearse Kelly gave a brief run down on the history of the IGA’s 60 years in Ireland. “IGA is a non political and non profit making organisation” and “We want to promote the Grassland and Profit message to farmers everywhere”. The committee of the IGA is made up of 20 members who all volunteer their time to the Association. He then introduced Donal Callery as the face of the IGA in the North East. Donal’s aim is to bring the association to a local level by organising farm walks, local events and workshops. Donal asked all farmers in the region to work with him. “The IGA is your local group, and your ideas are essential”. “Good grassland management leads to increased farm profit” says Donal. “Grass is still the cheapest form of feed”. “Anyone can grow grass, but in times of financial turmoil we need to be educated in how to utilise it”.