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Gildernew urges farmers to make ICT connection at Tyrone launch

2 May, 2008

Sinn Féin Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has launched a new ICT booklet outside Dungannon.

The Minister visited Nicola Beavers' farm in Eglish, to launch the booklet "IT Connects - Farmers' experiences from the Increasing Access to ICT Scheme". Nicola runs a 250 ewe flock on her Co. Tyrone farm, including 50 high quality pedigree Texel ewes. She has been using electronic tags and a handheld data recorder for the last year.

The Minister said:

"This booklet will provide a great source of reference for local farmers who are considering enhancing the technology they use on their farms. Shared experience is the best way to achieve increased ICT participation and this booklet offers a wide range of farmers' experiences of using Information and Communication Technology.

"People in rural areas need to have access to modern technology to support their growing businesses. Nicola is a great example of how farmers can use technology to help make recording quicker and more accurate. My Department will continue to encourage innovative farmers to use the latest technology in practical ways to help with day to day running of their businesses. I hope the experiences of farmers on this Scheme will inspire others to consider how to use ICT to make a difference in their business."

The Increasing Access to ICT Scheme was launched in 2003 and gave almost 1,000 farmers the opportunity to use new technology in their farm business. This new booklet outlines experiences of six of the businesses who took part. These include beef, sheep, dairy, pig, poultry and horticulture businesses, highlighting the benefits of technology across a wide range of enterprises.

If you would like a copy of the booklet contact Ciaran Hamill at CAFRE on Tel: 028 9442 6756 or visit

Notes to Editors

  1. A key recommendation of the 2001 report, "A Vision for the Future of the Agri-food Industry", prepared by leading industry representatives, was that DARD should introduce measures to increase the level of access to and encourage greater use by farmers of ICT.
  2. The Increasing Access to ICT Scheme aimed to promote the use of innovative ICT in 800 farm businesses and to share the results across the whole industry. This was achieved by funding the evaluation of new and innovative technology solutions on farms and in businesses.
  3. The scheme ran from March 2004 until February 2007. A total of 988 farmers and growers took part in the Increasing Access to ICT Scheme, evaluating 37 different technology solutions.
  4. CAFRE IT Technologists carried out an evaluation of each new technology. Those considered potentially beneficial were placed on a number of farms for assessment to establish the business benefits in a wide range of situations. Farmers and growers provided feedback on how the technology was benefiting them and their business.

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