Farmers in County Roscommon will be among those in running for one of forty seats on a special FBD-backed IFA International fact-finding tour, which will take in visits to farms in Canada. Thirty farmers from IFA branches throughout the county will be heading to experience first hand farming in Canada and to see what challenges and opportunities will arise for Irish food producers as Canada increase production to cope with the rising grain and milk markets following the announcement this week by farmers’ insurance company, FBD, that its Trust Company is to continue its sponsorship of the scholarship tour launched over twelve years ago. The scholarship tour promises to be an extensive one, entailing a seven day itinerary of visits to farms, research institutions, food processors and farm organisations. The trip will be particularly timely in helping Irish farmers identify the issues at play in Canada’s agriculture and to investigate the opportunities and challenges for Irish producers as the world food market becomes more global. The travel programme will take the group of Irish Farmers from Montreal in Quebec and onto the cosmopolitan city of Toronto. The IFA hope to build on the success of previous tours, which has brought approximately 700 farmers abroad, most of whom would never have had the opportunity but for this FBD Scholarship scheme. The thirty farmers will be selected from an IFA members’ competition, which will take place over the coming weeks. It is open to the Association’s 940 branch officers, who have gained entry into the draw on the basis of their hard work to increase membership in their locality. Those qualifying will be notified by post and a selection will be made by public draw, under independent supervision.