A new social organisation for the farming community is planned at Mountbellew Livestock Mart throughout March and April called Farmer’s Yards.
The initiative, led by University of Galway’s Rural Studies Centre, will give farmers a chance to meet others to chat about livestock and issues relevant to their livelihoods, as well as local news and other topics of interest over a complimentary cup of tea and biscuits on the evenings the mart takes place.
There will also be a weekly stock judging competition of cattle as well as guest speakers and demonstrations on a range of farmer focused topics.
It will take place on the evenings the mart takes place throughout March and April.
Mountbellew Livestock Mart’s involvement is important because in addition to its primary function, the mart’s bidding ring and canteen also provide a vital social facility for the local farming community.
The project is being led at University of Galway by Dr Shane Conway, who said that many farmers rely on their weekly visit to the mart to meet with their friends, exchange ideas and catch up on local news.
“Mountbellew Mart’s existing position and reputation as a focal point of activity within the heart of the rural community essentially provides it with a ready-made platform and network to diversify its services and establish a social group membership of farmers in its catchment area through this new initiative,” said Dr Conway.
“The well-established Men’s Sheds movement showcases the benefits of such a peer group at local level.
“The Rural Studies Centre at University of Galway believe that the Farmer’s Yards social organisation for the farming community has just as much, if not more, potential to succeed.
“It is gender inclusive and it has an intergenerational aspect, bringing together men and women of all ages involved in farming in the form of a social hub for the entire farming community.”
The pilot is funded by University of Galway’s Illuminate Programme with support from St Jarlath’s Credit Union.