CAFRE course is ‘outstanding’ in its field

CAFRE’s “outstanding” Level II agricultural courses are celebrating their 3,000th graduate.

Now in its fourth year, the qualification which is a requirement for the Young Farmers’ Payment/Regional Reserve Scheme eligibility, is open to new applications in six sector-specific courses, arable, beef, dairy, horticulture, poultry and sheep.


Broughshane farmer Thomas Gibson is one of the 3,000 farmers and growers who have completed the course and said it has made his farm more efficient and animals healthier.

“Being a hill farmer I was keen to complete the sheep course to develop my knowledge of sheep breeding, feeding and health. As a result we are more targeted in what we feed the sheep as well as what we put on the grass. The module on running a business was also very useful and the one on health and safety definitely focussed my mind on how we can do things better at home,” Thomas explained.

“Having spent time in New Zealand, I was particularly interested in learning to improve the grassland management and the quality of the pasture on the farm. I now surface seed and only plough if the ground is very compacted. It was something we all discussed on the course with other farmers and farm businesses, on the way home and even into the next few days around the farm. I would highly recommend the course to other farmers and growers who want to improve their farming knowledge and business sense.”

CAFRE tutor Dr Steven Johnston who manages the courses, said: “We tried to make the course as simple as possible starting with basic business models, cash flow and financing. Farmers can now generate a gross margin, know their costs, income and net profit. It allowed many of them to go home from the course and sit down and tease out those aspects of their own farm business.

“Many have gone on to do further courses, including Thomas, who has joined a local Business Development Group where he has the opportunity to share his experiences and obtain a Level 3 qualification.”

The delivery and management of the course, which is accredited through the Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCNNI), was described as being “outstanding” by the OCNNI External Verifiers.

If you are interested in undertaking the Level 2 course in Agriculture Business Operations(external link opens in a new window / tab) at CAFRE this winter, you can enrol now.

If you need any assistance to book a place on this course, you can call CAFRE Industry Training Administration on 028 9442 6880. The closing date for enrolments is 4.00pm on Thursday 29 June 2017.