Young Irish farmers’ views sought on future of co-ops

'Steps needed to be taken in this area to gauge the future of the co-operative movement in Ireland'

FRS Network, a co-op supporting the Irish agricultural sector, has been awarded funding to research young farmers’ attitudes to co-ops.

The study will look at issues such as co-op shareholding, and how young farmers view co-op boards – and whether they would be willing to serve on boards themselves.

The grant comes from the Golden Jubilee Trust, which works to promote, develop and improve the co-operative movement and the agricultural industry in Ireland.

It will enable FRS to conduct, analyse and report back findings to gain an independent outlook on the likely participation of young people in the future of co-ops in Ireland.

FRS chief executive Peter Byrne said: “Most co-ops in Ireland have young farmers trading with them who are not shareholders and may never have given consideration to the benefit of having shareholdings. Their parents may well be shareholders but have not discussed the transfer of their shares.

“Future board members will have to be elected among future shareholders – therefore, it is important we introduce these young people to how co-ops are managed and how their future management will be secured.”

Michael Spellman, director of the Golden Jubilee Trust, added: “After assessing FRS Networks’ application for the grant, it was clear to see that steps needed to be taken in this area to gauge the future of the co-operative movement in Ireland as it rests in the hands of our young farmers.”

Dr Pat Bogue of Broadmore Research and Consultancy, who has been appointed to conduct the research, said: “We are looking forward to launching the survey and are confident that young farmers out there will take part and have their voice heard.”

Those interested in participating in the survey can access it on the FRS website here. All responses will be confidential.

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