Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Support for farmers in Meath-Louth-Dublin to take positive actions for climate

On the 7th of July, the Signpost Advisory Programme was launched by Teagasc in Meath-Louth-Dublin Advisory area on the farm of Dermot Heaney, Castletown, Kilberry. This new advisory programme will complement existing advisory services and programmes already being provided to farmers in the region. The programme is designed to support and enable farmers to farm more sustainably with an emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their individual farms, thus contributing to the overall national effort by the agricultural and food sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030. 

The programme is an extension to the existing Signpost (Farmers for Climate Action) Programme that has established a network of more than 120 demonstration farms around the country, including 7 in the Meath-Louth-Dublin area, in collaboration with 65 Industry Partners. The Signpost Advisory Programme will add significantly to this programme by providing individual farmers greater access to support and tools to help them to adopt the appropriate practices and technologies on their farms that will impact on the emissions from their farm.

This is a free advisory service and available to all farmers across all enterprises. The overall aim of the programme is to give all farmers the confidence to adopt new and existing technologies and production systems that will allow them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining and improving farm profitability. The programme will utilise an exciting new sustainability digital platform AgNav, being developed collaboratively by Teagasc, ICBF and Bord Bia. This new AgNav platform will allow farmers to “Know My Number” by calculating and assessing the sources of emissions on their individual farms. The AgNav platform will also provide a way of comparing the impacts of different technology and farm practice options on reducing these emissions and for a farm to “Make My Plan” by selecting actions that can be implemented on the farm in the future that will reduce emissions.  

Speaking at the launch, Teagasc regional manager, David Colbourne highlighted, “It’s great that we have two such dedicated Signpost Advisors to provide free support to farmers to make their own plans for cutting both emissions and costs. Good management of soils and nutrients will be the foundation of every plan and, with the advisors’ help, farmers can choose the right components to build on this and make a plan that suits their farm.”

Dermot Heaney from Castletown, Kilberry is one of the Signpost Programme Demonstration farms in the Meath-Louth-Dublin area. He is one of the farmers already seeing the benefits of adopting new practices that are positive for climate and sustainability. He shared his experiences of getting involved in the programme pointing out that “Knowing my Number” (his carbon emissions figure) is key to making progress.  “You can’t change what you don’t measure”. Continuing he said, “Having engaged with the Signpost Programme I have managed to cut my chemical nitrogen usage by 28% through better nutrient management and clover incorporation, without any negative impact on farm productivity. I also now know the most important steps that I can take to further reduce my carbon footprint.” Also speaking at the launch was local Dairy beef 500 farmer and Signpost Demonstration farmer Aidan Maguire. Aidan emphasised the support of the Signpost Programme in improving the environmental and financial sustainability of his farm. He also said that “Without the support of Teagasc, I wouldn’t have had a goal to work towards. Now I have my targets in place, I can track my progress and it is helping me stay on course to improve my efficiency while reducing my emissions.”

Two Signpost advisors have been appointed in the Teagasc Laois-Kildare-Meath-Louth-Dublin region to directly support this new programme. Both bring a wealth of experience to their new roles. Meabh OHagan is based in Teagasc, Drogheda, Co. Louth and she completed her UCD/Teagasc Research Masters in Agricultural Innovation and Support focusing on farmers opinions on greenhouse gas mitigation measures. She taught at Ballyhaise and Kildalton colleges for a total of 4.5 years and then joined ASSAP for 2.5 years, providing support and advisory services focused on water quality. Margaret Farrell, an Athboy native, also completed her UCD/Teagasc Research Masters. She then taught part-time and distance courses at Ballyhaise Agricultural College for 2 years. Both Margaret and Méabh have stressed the importance of getting signed up for the programme. To sign up for the Signpost Advisory Programme here or contact to your local Teagasc advisor or advisory office.