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Minister of State Sean Connick's address to Macra Na Feirme's Annual Conference on 22nd October 2010

At the opening of the annual conference of Macra na Feirme in Arklow, Minister of State Sean Connick at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food referred to the important role of that organisation for young people in rural communities.  He said that "this support is invaluable for any young farmer as it provides useful updates of developments within the agriculture sector but it also provides an important social outlet"

The Minister went on to refer to the significant contribution of the agri-food sector to the economy.  He noted to the Government's major policy initiative Food Harvest 2020 which "sets out the targets and the strategic vision necessary to place the agri-food and fishing sector at the centre of the export led economic recovery".  Minister Connick said that "Food Harvest 2020 has shown that Ireland can grow its exports of food and beverages by one-third to €12 billion annually. The report also points out that despite our current economic challenges, the agri-food industry operates within a very dynamic environment, with world food demand continuously on the increase, and it has the capability to be a strong driver of national economic recovery.  This is all positive news for young farmers looking to the future".

Minister Connick also commented on the scheme for new entrants into the dairy sector. He said "There has been considerable interest in the New Entrants Scheme in 2009 and 2010, with the result that a total of 146 successful applicants have been identified for allocations of up to 200,000 litres each.  In tandem with their preparations for commencement, these applicants have been participating in a specially tailored training programme put together by Teagasc that will help them to overcome the challenges they will encounter as they embark on a career in dairying and bring new ideas and new experiences to bear on the sector."

When speaking about on farm investments, he referred to Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Brendan Smith's announcement on the sheep fencing / handling scheme which will open for applications on Monday week, 1st November, and said that "The introduction of this Scheme will involve the provision of a further €8 million in grants for this important sector"

Date Released: 22 October 2010