Macra na Feirme’s travel programme reflects the organisation’s ability to embrace different interests. Travel opportunities range from a club taking the initiative in organising a local trip for its members, to a club or region organising an international exchange.
International Youth Exchanges
Macra members can avail of a wide variety of youth exchanges, youth seminars and youth volunteer services, which are generously supported by the EU’s Erasmus Plus Programme. Full details are available at www.leargas.ie.
Macra organises and participates in various international exchanges each year and promotes these to members. In addition, members and clubs can take part in international exchange and cooperation programmes in education, youth and community work and vocational education and training. Here you will find more than 40 programmes, funded by the EU, aimed at young people.
Young Farmer Exchange Programmes
Macra na Feirme offers young farmers and agricultural students the opportunity to undergo training experience on a farm abroad. Placements are available in countries such as France, Holland and Denmark. All placements are organised with partners in these countries and there are strict selection policies. These organisations will charge students for placement, sourcing, verification, induction training and supervision. Some will require students to have comprehensive insurance cover and a full driver’s licence.
Young Farmer Exchange Programmes provide an excellent service for trainees travelling abroad for work experience.
Agriculture, Equine, Horticulture and Turf Management Exchange Programme
Macra na Feirme, in conjunction with Communicating for Agriculture (CA), offers an exchange programme between Ireland and the US. We have been participating in this programme since the early 1970s, sending hundreds of students to the US.
CA is a government-recognised, non-profit organisation in the US, whose aim, like Macra na Feirme, is to promote the exchange of ideas and travel between young agricultural people throughout the world. The programme is open to people between the ages of 18 and 28 who are single, in good health and have at least one year’s practical experience in their chosen industry. Placements are normally for six to 12 months. CA facilitates students in finding a suitable host who, in turn, provide accommodation for the duration of the stay. Placements are available in many areas including agriculture, equine, horticulture and turf management.
Macra na Feirme facilitates this programme by putting the student in touch with CA, assisting in all the paperwork, i.e. online applications, placement advice, references and also information on criteria required by the American Embassy for the J1 visa.
European Rally/Autumn and Spring Seminars
These trips bring together young rural people from European countries for a week-long programme of educational, social and cultural activities. Each year, the European Rally is attended by 20 countries with around 110 participants. Delegates will be chosen from the receivers of the President's Medal.
Stephen Cullinan Scholarship
This scholarship (funded by the Agricultural Trust and the Irish Farmers Journal) enables young farmers to visit New Zealand and work for six months to gain experience of alternative methods of dairy farming.
The scholarship winners receive a return ticket to New Zealand and one is guaranteed six month’s work. Facilities are provided whereby travel tickets can be extended to include stopovers and visits to the US or Singapore on the journey home from New Zealand. All travel tickets are valid for 12 months. Applicants must be over 18 years of age and under 30 years of age and committed to pursuing a career in the dairy industry.
Macra members who have won a first prize in any competition – sports, agriculture, speaking, performing arts – falling under the control of the National Competitions Committee, will be eligible for a rebate (to be set by National Executive) on the prizewinners’ trip from calendar year 2013/2014 and subsequent years.
A leader will be appointed once National Executive set the destination, date and recommend the venue following research carried out by National Office. The prize must be used in the year it was won and cannot be carried forward to a subsequent year.
Winners of the FBD Young Farmer of the Year, National Talent Competition and the various personality competitions are not eligible to go on the prizewinners’ trip.
Winners are only entitled to one place on the prizewinners’ trip i.e., should a person win individual competition(s) and/or be part of a team(s) that win competition(s), they will only be entitled to one place on the trip and thus entitled to one rebate. Provision of a prize winners trip is subject to available funding in any given year.
Macra are invited by the Junior Farmers Association of Ontario to send one Macra member to Canada on an exchange for up to three months from the end of May to end of August. Applications are invited yearly from interested members and submitted to Audrey McDonnell, Macra Travel Administrator: Tel: 01 426 8901 or Email: email@example.com by February 28 each year.
Interested candidates will be invited to attend an interview in Macra National Office in March and one candidate will be selected on the basis of: (a) ability to represent Macra; (b) perceived benefit to member; and (c) suitability of candidate for exchange. The successful candidate must fund their own flight costs and will be hosted by members’ families of the Junior Farmers Association in Ontario. Further details available on request.
Macra are invited by the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) to send two members to Scotland each year for their exchange programme. Successful candidates will participate in the orientation day on arrival and will be assigned to a host family. Candidates will also attend the Scottish Highland Show in June. Applications by interested members must be submitted to Audrey McDonnell, Macra Travel Administrator: Tel: 01 426 8901 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org by February 28 each year. Interested candidates will be invited to attend an interview in Macra National Office in March and two candidates will be selected on the basis of: (a) ability to represent Macra; (b) perceived benefit to member; and (c) suitability of candidate for exchange. The successful candidates must fund their own flight costs and will be hosted by member families of SAYFC.
Macra have been invited for the last two years to send one Macra member to Switzerland by IFYE (International Farm/4H Youth Exchange). The exchange takes place in June for 4-6 weeks. Trainees should be between the age of 18-30 and have experience of working on a farm. As an IFYE you will stay with a host family and be expected to participate in everyday life on a farm including helping out with typical chores and working alongside the family. Your Swiss family takes you in free of charge providing room and board in return for you working with them. You will have to pay for your own flight and insurance. Names should be submitted to Audrey McDonnell at email@example.com before the 28th February each year.
Erasmus+ is the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport and covers the period 2014-2020. Aimed at boosting skills, employability and supporting the modernisation of education, training and youth systems, the seven-year programme has a budget of Ä14.7bn – 40% higher than current levels. More than four million people will receive support to study, train, work or volunteer abroad, including two million higher education students, 650,000 vocational training students and apprentices, as well as more than 500,000 going on youth exchanges or volunteering abroad. Students planning a full Master’s degree abroad, for which national grants or loans are seldom available, will benefit from a new loan guarantee scheme run by the European Investment Fund. Erasmus+ will also provide funding for education and training staff, youth workers, and for partnerships between universities, colleges, schools, enterprises, and not-for-profit organisations. For more information go to http://ec.europa.eu/erasmus-plus
Code of Conduct
The following is the code of conduct that Macra members must obey when travelling with Macra:
Respect all group/club members.
The purpose of the trip should be adhered to by all members.
Respect authority of group/club leader(s).
You should behave in a civil and courteous manner at all times.
You should not engage in substance abuse of any kind (e.g., excessive alcohol and drugs).
Remain a member of the group and avoid being on your own.
If departing from the group, inform the group leader(s) and ensure you have the following details to hand:
Contact details of group leader(s).
Details of accommodation.
Advise the group leader(s) of any medical condition that may affect you during the trip.
For further information on travel opportunities, contact Audrey McDonnell in Macra’s National Office. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org