ENCOURAGING more women into farming will be one of the aims of the incoming Chairman of Agri Aware, Croom man Shay Galvin.
Mr Galvin takes over the role from Alan Jagoe following a successful election at the recent Agri Aware AGM held at the Irish Farm Centre in Dublin.
Agri Aware is a food and farming educational body and aims to teach children and adults about farming, agriculture and the food industry in Ireland, through outreach in schools and open farm days.
Speaking to the Limerick Post, Shay said that, during his tenure, he will be focused on building on the work done by his predecessor.
“There’s an awful lot of programmes that Agri Aware already have, and we just want to continue and build them and get them into more schools,” he explained.
Shay said that by the end of his term, he would hope to have increased funding for the group to employ more staff and bring the programmes to more schools as a result.
“If we could increase our funding to get more staff to get better penetration, we would make more people aware. Agri Aware is limited by our resources and the more resources we have the more we can spread the word,” he said.
“The previous chairman Alan Jagoe did an absolutely excellent job, so he didn’t leave me much to improve on,” said Shay.
The beef and tillage farmer said that the Agri Aware programmes are inclusive, showing their there is a career in farming for everyone.
“When we do the talks to national schools, it’s to everybody. What’s the old adage: ‘if you can see it, you can be it’? We try to get women as much as men involved, most of the staff of Agri Aware are women. We get women farmers to do some of the talks as well so it’s an equal opportunity thing,” Mr Galvin explained.
As well as showing that a career in farming can be for everyone, Agri Aware are also trying to encourage more farmers and future farmers to consider tillage farming.
“We want to promote a bit more tillage, it’s an important industry in Ireland.”
Ireland has “the highest (tillage) yield in the world and we’re very sustainable and it’s very carbon-friendly. The Government have a position where they want to increase the tillage area by maybe 20 per cent,” he concluded.