Green Cert delays causing problems for young farmers – Gallagher
Senator Robbie Gallagher has raised the issue in Seanad Eireann of delays for young farmers in the region in accessing the Green Cert course which qualifies them for a range of entitlements. Senator Gallagher told Minister Michael Creed that there are 605 students on a waiting list for the Green Cert course in Ballyhaise Agricultural College.
He said, ” There are 605 on the waiting list for the Green Cert in Ballyhaise. There are already 460 students completing Part Time and Distance education programmes and a commitment to a further 105 students to start these programmes before the end of 2016. To in order to accommodate students on the waiting list Teagasc requires sanction of temporary education staff on a two year contract basis as the contracts for some of the existing temporary staff are due to expire by the end of 2016.”
“As Teagasc currently has no commitment on educational staff for 2017 from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, they are unable to plan any further Part-Time and Distance Education courses at this time until the staffing situation is resolved.
I have heard from a number of constituents – young farmers who are concerned and frustrated about the delay in accessing a Green Cert course. They say that the delay is causing them several difficulties. This is an issue for the agricultural community across the border and midlands counties and also no doubt across the country,” he continued.
“A major part of ongoing farm modernization and development has been the education of young farmers in our agricultural colleges. The Green Cert qualifies a person as a ‘trained farmer’. This could be in horticulture, agriculture, forestry or equine studies. It is first and foremost about education. Having a ‘Green Cert’ is also one of the conditions of stamp duty exemption on the transfer of a farm to a son or daughter. It also meets the criteria for schemes or grants that may be available from time to time – such as the Young Farm Scheme and some horticulture grants. In other words it is incentivized education. It has been very successful in educating young farmers, improving farm practice and incentivizing succession on farms. The contribution by the agricultural community to the economy of this country is immense. Thousands of jobs depend on it.”
“At the very foundation of its success are the primary producers, the farmers working the land, milking the cows, growing the crops. We can all see how agriculture has developed and changed over the decades. Our farmers and our agribusinesses compete on global markets. Each generation of farmers brings new methods, better ways of doing things.
Education and the Green Cert is central to all this. I have called on the Minister to sanction the funding for the colleges to put the required staff in place without delay.”