Boasting a line-up of major stakeholders in European agriculture, the Professional Agricultural Contractors of Ireland (PAC Ireland) association will hold its annual conference in Kilkenny on Friday, February 2.

Set to be held in the Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny, the conference is titled ‘Smart Farming – Agricultural Contractors and Farmers Working Together‘.

For the event, an extensive list of guest speakers has been organised, including EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan.

The speaking panel will include Commissioner Hogan, the president of European association CEMA, and Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten – along with representatives from Pottinger, Tama, Rauch, Nokia, FBD and Carbery Plastics.

European agricultural stakeholder representatives will give talks on the day including: Richard Markwell, president of CEMA; Graham Robson, technical manager of Tama Plastic Industries; Dr. Markus Baldingder, chief technical officer and head of research and development at Pottinger; Wilfried Muller, director of sales and marketing, Rauch; and Jacob Van Den Borne, a Dutch farmer and contractor.

Irish guest speakers will include: Ciaran Roche, FBD Farm Insurance; Joe Healy, IFA president; Frank Mullany, Nokia 5G research strategist; Pio Ronan, Carbery Plastics senior sales executive; Kevin Nolan, an Irish farmer and contractor; James Healy, Macra na Feirme president; and Graham McHugh, FTMTA president.

Speaking ahead of the event, PAC Ireland chairman Michael Sheehan said: “Smart farming is not the future; it’s here right now.

Agri contractors must be fully ‘clued-up’ on all aspects of smart farming technology and plan where we will fit into the bigger picture.

The chairman added: “The capital investment required for most smart farming technologies will put it out of reach for smaller farmers, so the agricultural contracting sector will be central to ensuring that all farmers can reap the benefits of what new innovation has to offer.”


L-R: Michael Sheehan, chairman, PAC Ireland; Joe Healy, president, IFA; and Fiona Muldoon, CEO, FBD Insurance. Image source: Conor McCabe Photography

The conference will focus on smart farming innovations and will highlight the “indisputable fact” that agricultural contractors must be recognised for the important role they will play – if production targets in FoodWise 2025 are to be achieved, according to a spokesperson of the organisation.

Farm safety

CEO of FBD Insurance – the lead sponsors of the conference – Fiona Muldoon also commented, noting: “The PAC conference will highlight ‘smart farming’ practices and the thought leadership within our agri industry.

Farm safety is an integral part of smart farming and we welcome any opportunity to promote safe farm practices.

“I am delighted that FBD is sponsoring this innovative and important conference and I challenge all farmers and agri-businesses to make 2018 a safe year for farming,” Muldoon concluded.

Contractors, farmers, advisors and machinery trade representatives are all welcome and encouraged to attend by PAC Ireland.

Tickets – covering refreshments, lunch, a conference bag and parking – cost €25 and are available to book ahead online.