Women in Agri share experiences

October 23rd, 2018 7:25 PM

By Southern Star Team

Grainne Hurley, Teagasc

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A SURVEY by Skibbereen and Bandon Credit Union on more than 200 women involved in agriculture in West Cork has found that 61% feel that financial pressure is the biggest stress factor when running a farm. 

The survey which sought to look for women’s insights in to farm life was carried out ahead of a unique forum event for West Cork women in agriculture on Thursday, October 25th, in the Munster Arms Hotel at 8pm.

The event, which will be hosted by C103’s Patricia Messinger, is aimed at women involved in farming on a day to day basis and those who manage farm and family finances and administration.

Of those surveyed, 92% said they felt that farming was a good way of life but over 58% of these felt achieving a good work/life balance and the increased paperwork and admin duties were among the main difficulties.

 A total of 58% said they would like to see their children take over the family farm business although just 49% felt confident about the future of farming in general which is down to concerns surrounding Brexit and the ever increasing admin duties which must be completed alongside the day to day duties on the farm.

Attendees to the forum will hear from a variety of keynote speakers including Gráinne Hurley, business and technology advisor with Teagasc who will speak on farm planning, audits, and administration. Finola Colgan, Mental Health Ireland will address attendees on the topic of managing stress and the five ways to well-being. Albert Wolfe, solicitor, will speak about succession planning and securing the future of the farm business.

The event will also see a panel discussion among some of West Cork’s leading female voices in farming who will speak openly about the triumphs and trials of running a farm. 

Among the panel of contributors will be Máire McCarthy, farmer, QFA and board member Bandon Co-Op; Vanessa Kiely-O’Connor, award-winning farmer, and Ann Keohane, farmer and IFA environment and rural affairs committee member.

Speaking about the event, Donal O’Driscoll, CEO of Skibbereen and Bandon Credit Union, said: ‘We are looking forward to hosting this unique event which will address the main challenges faced by women in agriculture in our region.’ 

‘For many years a woman’s role on the farm was not recognised, but today things are very different with countless women very successfully running farms and making huge strides in new farming techniques while others may be balancing their own careers and dealing with the ever increasing paperwork which running a farm can bring.

‘The event will give attendees some solid take home lessons on how to deal with changing farm practices and how they can better plan for the future. We look forward to hearing personal stories from women at the forefront of farming in West Cork who will speak candidly on the real challenges and benefits of farm life.’

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