Congratulations to Francie Gorman from Laois, who was elected the IFA South Leinster regional chair before Christmas.
He received 1,390 votes, defeating James Kehoe from Wexford on 867 votes.
Gorman said he looked forward to representing farmers in south Leinster on the national officers’ committee and national council.
“As a former chair of Laois IFA, I am aware of the issues and challenges facing farmers. I will bring this experience to my new role and I look forward to working with the president and other members of national council,” he said.
Gorman acknowledged the contribution of his predecessor Tom Short and pledged to carry on his work.
2020 was an unprecedented year in many ways and presented a challenge unlike any we had faced before
The regional chair has responsibility for communicating with and supporting county executives, between council meetings, co-ordinating IFA campaigns at regional level and, as a national officer and member of council, dealing with urgent issues arising between council meetings and liaising directly with county executives within the region.
Speaking about the launch of the association’s upgraded website, IFA president Tim Cullinan said: ”We have evolved and adapted continuously. 2020 was an unprecedented year in many ways and presented a challenge unlike any we had faced before.
Wider use of technology has been a key part of our response
“Like any member association, in-person meetings and events are the lifeblood of what we do. COVID-19 presented an unprecedented challenge to our normal model of engagement with members.
“Wider use of technology has been a key part of our response, and we have upgraded ifa.ie to keep our members updated on the association’s activities.”
The last year resulted in considerable changes to our digital audience, and the new website is a direct response to this.
Cullinan said the upgraded website builds on the development of the IFA’s smartphone app and includes video conferencing to conduct meetings at the regional and county level, remote voting via postal ballot and direct messaging expansion.
The site is tailored for mobile users, with the most popular and timely information across sectors and policy areas.
We have invested a significant amount of time in getting an insight to what members want
IFA campaigns, market guides and prices are easily accessible throughout the site. There are also several tools, resources and guides around the critical issues affecting Irish farmers.
Ethan Cleary, the IFA’s technology and innovation executive, said: “We have invested a significant amount of time in getting an insight to what members want. This allows us to fundamentally understand their digital needs and the information they value most from IFA.”
As part of a Digital Agricultural Technology Attitudes and Adoption study carried out with over 750 of our members and leaders published last year, we could see the smartphone is the most important digital tool that farmers use in conducting daily farm business.
The new website is very much mobile-first and farmer-first. It allows our members to access the IFA website quickly, efficiently and most importantly for farmers, from anywhere. Up-to-date, accessible and accurate information is absolutely essential at the moment, and this was one of the core objectives of the new site.
“This launch represents another step in our ongoing communications journey, and we look forward to building on this throughout 2021,” said Cleary.