DEAR SIR: It was with sadness I read an article relating to farm student placements with host farmers in last week’s edition of the Irish Farmers Journal. As a host farmer for many years, I am very proud of all the students I have met and worked with during their college placements and have developed lifelong friendships with them.

The placement process is carried out in great detail – firstly, the agricultural college matches the students with a potential host farmer. The host farmer must follow the agreed protocol from the college in relation to the placement.

An detailed meeting and interview process then takes place where a farm tour, placement working hours, wages and facilities are explained before a written agreement is signed by both parties.

Student safety during placement is paramount and the student will be visited by the college coordinator on-site during the placement.

I believe the placement of agricultural students on site is a valuable experience and an opportunity for the host farmer to educate the young farmers of the future.

Our role is to encourage young people to enter and remain in farming, therefore it is our responsibility to provide fair working and wage conditions so that the placement process is a positive and rewarding experience for students and host farmers alike.