16th IFMA Congress – Ireland

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A Vibrant Rural Economy – The Challenge for Balance

15th – 20th July 2007 – Cork, Ireland.

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On Sunday July 15th 2007 some 250 delegates with 70 accompanying persons came together for the opening reception at the start of the 16th International Farm Management Congress. Opened with welcome speeches by the Mayor of Cork, JJ Harty the Chairman of the organising committee, Malcolm Stansfield the President of IFMA and Seamus O’Reilly from the University College Cork and the co-ordinator of the Scientific Programme, the congress was to achieve some remarkable ‘firsts’ for IFMA Congresses.

All-in-all a most successful congress greatly enjoyed by all who attended. The organising bodies of Teagasc Clonakilty Agricultural College and University College Cork are to be congratulated for assembling a varied programme of presentations and field visits for the Congress together with thoroughly enjoyable and informative Pre and Post Congress Tours. Our hosts’ generous hospitality was greatly appreciated.

In the paragraphs below are brief summaries of the Congress with links to the Congress Proceedings (2 volumes) and the Pre and Post Congress Tour summaries. If you have not attended an IFMA Congress before, we hope you will use these pages to get a flavour of what an IFMA Congress is like to attend. One consistent comment from our delegates is that they very much appreciate the relaxed, friendly and informal nature of all aspects of our congresses. With the excellent opportunities for networking, many long term international friendships have started – and continued – at our congresses.

The Theme of the congress was “A Vibrant Rural Economy – The Challenge for Balance”. For more details you can still visit the Congress Website at www.ifma16.org – it should remain available until at least July 2008.

The Congress – University College Cork.

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The University, under the guidance of Seamus O’Reilly and his team, provided a warm welcome and excellent facilities for the Plenary and Parallel Sessions of the congress, as well as the venue for the Welcome Reception held on the Sunday night with it’s themes of Irish regional foods. With Irish musical accompaniment the delegates were able to meet up with old friends and start the process of meeting new ones whilst getting their bearings for the week ahead.

Plenary Papers

webireland_congress_thompsoTen plenary papers were presented by eminant speakers from around the world during the week. You can find the individual papers or presentations on the IFMA16 congress website or in the proceedings on this website.

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Peter Kendall, Vice President of COPA (EU Farmers) and Bob Thompson, Garden Chair of Agricultural Policy at Univ. of Illinois, USA.

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Michael Hammel, Environment, EU Commission and Lord Chris Haskins, Advisor to Irish and UK Governments.

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Hamish Gow, International Agribusiness …, Michigan State Univ. USA and Vinus Zachariasse, Wageningen University (ret), The Netherlands.

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Tom Kirley, Acting Director, Teagasc, Ireland and Tom Arnold, CEO, Concern Worldwide (Dublin)

(Unfortunately Éamon Ó Cuív TD, Irish Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht and Zheng Xeuli, Director of the Education and Science Department of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, Beijing were unable to attend – their papers were presented on their behalf.)

Finally a plenary panel session with 7 representatives from around the world addressed the theme of the congress and what it meant to them in their country and delegates participated in the discussion.

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Panel representatives from Nigeria, Ireland and Germany and delegates.

Contributed Papers – Parallel Sessions

For the first time at an IFMA Congress full peer review was available under the heading “Academic”, whilst practical papers could still be submitted for those who did not need peer review. An exceptionally high number of papers were submitted – over 240 at one stage – of which 90 “Academic” and 60 “Applied” papers were presented during the congress, and 27 posters. Funding and visa problems reduced the number who could finally attend – and anyone intending to come to future congresses needs to start preparing early as these often take a long time to come through.

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Upto 7 parallel sessions were running at any one time. Coffee breaks provided excellent networking opportunities – and a chance to plan one’s programme!

Please note that the Proceedings on this website are published in 2 volumes, one with all the peer reviewed “Academic” papers and the other with the “Applied” papers, poster abstracts and the plenary papers or presentations. Here you will also find the full programme of papers and the authors’ biographical notes. Many thanks must go to Aoife O’Sullivan for all the hard work she put in to make sure all was administered so efficiently, and that all the papers have been properly formatted and made available for publication.

Field Trips

6 options were on offer to delegates for each of the 2 field trip days which gave delegates a wide range of farming and other topics. With dairying a major part of Irish farming there were several dairying related visits, but the options on beef, diversification and rural development were also very popular. We were particularly grateful that so many local farms opened their gates to delegates from around the world. With dairying a major enterprise in Ireland – few will have left not knowing about EU Nitrate and Waste Directives or Nitrate Vulnerable Zones and their cost implications!

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Dairy issues and management to growing and processing vegetables for catering to organic farming with cereals, vegetables and beef enterprises. Just a few of a long list of organised visits around 6 themes on each day.

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Accompanying Persons Programme

webireland_accomp_toUSAWhilst the delegates were in sessions their accompanying persons were being entertained! With so many accompanying persons two coaches were employed and the tours repeated. One day with a trip through the beautiful countryside of West County Cork to Mizen Head – the nearest point to North America.

Looking out to the USA, the beautiful Cork coast line and the model village in Clonakilty.

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The other day was spent in East Cork which included a visit to the old harbour at Cobh with its traumatic history at the time of potato blight and famine resulting in over a million people leaving Ireland, mainly for the USA from this port, often in dire circumstances. Cobh was also the last port of call for the Titanic before heading on its fatal trip to New York.

Social Programme

After the Welcome reception on Sunday evening, there was a big party at Blarney with full Irish entertainment and spectacular dancing on the Tuesday night, followed by the Congress Banquet at the Rochester Hotel in Cork on the Thursday. During the latter “thank you awards” were made to the retiring President of IFMA – Malcolm Stansfield and Vice President Dan Smith – both of whom have given long and dutiful service to IFMA over many years. It was also our opportunity to formally thank the principal organisers of the congress (See the side panel for more).

The evening ended with dancing and a very energetic rendering of “Auld Lang Syne”!

The Congress Welcome Reception

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The Mayor of Cork welcoming the Congress to Cork, with JJ Harty, the Congress Chairman and Malcolm Stansfield the President of IFMA – who also invited delegates to participate fully in the week of events ahead – during the opening ceremony at the Welcome Reception at UCC.

16th Congress Proceedings

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All the papers, poster and presentations are available on this website in PDF format. They are published in two volumes – one of the Peer Reviewed ‘Academic’ Papers (ISBN 978-92-990038-6-2) and another of the ‘Applied’ Papers, Poster Abstracts and Plenary speeches or presentations (ISBN 978-92-990038-7-9).
Click below to go to the Congress Section, and then on Proceedings:

Proceedings

An Evening in Blarney

After a visit to the Blarney Woollen Mill Shop where an extensive range of Irish gifts were displayed, delegates and their guests had an evening to remember – with good food, wine and other Irish beverages – and were entertained with Irish Dance (Riverdance style), music and song.

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The Congress Banquet

Held at the Rochester Park Hotel with some 400 people in attendance the Banquet was a wonderful celebration of Irish (food sponsored by Bord Bia the Irish Food Agency), and of friendships built during the congress. Capped by a glass or two of Merry’s Irish Cream liqueur, the occasion was a great opportunity to pay tribute to many people.

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To JJ Harty, the Chairman of the Organising Committee and IFMA16 Ltd., who first had the idea of bringing the congress to Ireland – and who stuck with it during the four years of preparation.

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To Joe Walsh TD, the Patron of the Congress who persuaded many organisations to sponsor the congress – here thanking them for the important part they played in the success of the congress.

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To Dan Smith, the retiring Vice President from the USA, here receiving a presentation from John Alliston, the new President of IFMA, on behalf of his friends in IFMA for his unstinting support and excellent advice since 1986.

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To Malcolm Stansfield, the retiring President of IFMA, who along with a presentation received a standing ovation from the delegates. An emotional moment for Malcolm, who became President in 1991 following the sudden and untimely death of the first President of IFMA – Frank Paton.

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To Seamus O’Reilly and Aoife O’Sullivan at UCC who between them organised and co-ordinated the Scientific Programme – both before and during the congress. Aoife also co-ordinated the Congress Registration process with all its complexities – and did an amazing job, deserving all the plaudits that she received and more!

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To Colette Collins O’Sullivan who as JJ’s PA at Clonakilty College, co-ordinated the Pre and Post Congress Tours, the Field Trips, the Accommpanying Person Tours and the Social events – and somehow kept smiling through it all!

They, and all those who worked with them, are to be congratulated on their success and great hospitality – the hallmark of Ireland – truely attained by our hosts!! Congratulations.