Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has just launched a report on the activity of The Land Mobility Service. The Land Mobility Service Annual Report is available here
The pilot programme, which is now complete, has demonstrated the benefits and need for such a service. The service is making a real difference helping farmers, farm families, new entrants and land owners in a confidential and expert manner.
282 Arrangements have been facilitated involving some 25,000 Acres. There is a now greater understanding of collaborative farming and its benefits.
The vision of Macra na Feirme together with the financial support of FBD Trust and subsequent support of Aurivo, Dairygold, Glanbia and the Department of Agriculture has ensured the delivery and success of this programme.
The service is now establishing an enhanced national service. It is clear that where independent expert facilitation is available farmers and land owners will enter into collaborative arrangements leading to better land use models and improved returns for both farmer and landowner.
With the support of all stakeholders the service has stimulated new thinking and action. This is delivering
- Sustainability at farm level
- Supply security and supply enhancement at processor level
- Food Wise 2025
During the pilot programme delivery was highest where support was most available.
What is The Land Mobility Service?
The Land Mobility Brokerage Service, based in the Farm Centre, is not about more studies but instead providing a service to facilitate workable arrangements. The fundamentals of the service are:
- To provide information
- To outline and explore options
- To act as an honest broker
- To provide a confidential service facilitating land mobility
- To work with farmers’ existing professional advisers
The “Honest Broker” element is particularly important in that all parties will be fully respected and in particular the rights of the land owner.
The purpose of the service is to facilitate collaborative arrangements tailored to suit any
specific situation. These arrangements may be as simple or as complex as desired. They must be workable for all parties involved and can be within or outside the family or a combination of both. In many cases it is envisaged that the arrangements will evolve over
time, to help develop dynamic, progressive, and profitable farm operations.
Advantages of Collaboration
Collaboration has a long tradition in rural Ireland, just look at co ops and neighbours helping each other at the harvest. Collaboration provides both social and financial benefits. Identified benefits of collaboration include
- Improved economies of scale leading to increased profits
- Increased leisure time
- Better social and family life
- Improved work environment and reduced work load
- Reduced stress through shared decisions and companionship
- Improved farm safety
- Reduced investment risk and better decision making
- More efficient use of fixed costs
- Operational farms have higher economic, social and environmental value
- Improved use of skills and specialisations
- Expansion, succession planning and farm progression facilitated
In spite of the benefits and the availability of both templates and working examples the level of collaborative arrangements operating in Ireland is low. This can be attributed to CAP reform and uncertainty associated with Single Farm Payment (SFP) entitlements, a lack of information and awareness, and land title security concerns.
Structured collaborative arrangements are a relatively new concept in Ireland and have a lot to offer.