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Sligo / Leitrim / Donegal Advisory Region

On behalf of Teagasc I would like to welcome you to the Sligo/Leitrim/Donegal Advisory Region section of the Teagasc website.The main objective of our staff in the region are to enhance the quality of life in rural areas by improving the competitiveness of sustainable farming systems through the implementation of best practice technology.

In this region we have 16 advisory staff at six different locations. At two of these locations, Ballymote and Letterkenny, there are 11 Education officers at educational centres where the Advanced Certificate in Agriculture is organised by an educational officer and delivered by all staff.

The advisory and educational staff in the regional unit is backed up by a support team of a staff officer and six administrative staff.

The staff also has the back up and support of the nationwide Teagasc organisation. This support comes through specialist teams and research teams located at five different centres; Grange, Moorepark, Oakpark, Athenry and Johnstown Castle.

Regional staff delivers, education, advice and services to 3,800 contracted farmers, and information to the farming public at large. The Business and Technology Programme is delivered mainly through the discussion group format.

At present in the region there are 8 Dairy groups. The dairy advisors are engaged in a joint-programme with Aurivo Co-op and activities include group meetings, farm walks, public events, workshops and profit monitor completion.

Throughout the region Drystock farmers are organised into 27 beef groups with 460 members and 26 sheep groups with 530 members. The beef farmers in discussion groups are all participants in the Beef Technology Adoption Programme and the sheep farmers in discussion groups are participants in the Sheep Technology Adoption Programme. There are a number of beef and sheep BETTER farms throughout the region and public events on these farms are used as part of the knowledge transfer process for Drystock farmers along with group meetings, workshops and completion of profit monitors. The Tillage programme in east Donegal implemented through farm walks, workshops, seminars, crop monitoring and a tillage discussion group.

The Environment and Technology Programme is implemented through advisory and educational support for 1700 farmers who are participants in the environmental schemes. In addition to the environmental schemes, advice and education is provided through workshops, seminars and face- to- face contact with regard to adherence to Cross Compliance regulations.

The Rural Development Programme is implemented through the Options Programme.

There are two Options courses held in the region each year. The organisers of these courses identify suitable participants to attend the courses. The courses involve Teagasc specialists in rural development, along with speakers from relevant outside agencies.

At the end of the course, participants with worthwhile ideas are put in contact with business development agencies.

The Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (ACA) courses is central to the Educational Programme; there are presently over 100 students enrolled. These courses are held in Ballymote and Letterkenny and have proven to be very successful over the years, with both new entrants to farming and active farmers attending. The courses involve activities in class work, computer skills, practical farm management, animal husbandry skills, and in recent years, discussion group participation.

In addition to the ACA there are a number of short courses held each year in financial management, computer skills, and Health and Safety.

Teagasc produce a number of regular publications, which are a very valuable source of information for anyone involved or interested in agriculture. The publications are reader- friendly, well laid out and with up- to -date information and advice. There are two magazine publications - TResearch and Today’s Farm.

Today’s Farm is distributed to all clients each month. In addition, there are monthly newsletters which are enterprise-specific targeted at relevant clients.

There is a Forestry Advisor based in Ballybofey who supplies advice and education on forestry to farmers in the Sligo/Leitrim/Donegal Regional Unit.

The pig farmers in the region are serviced by a pig advisor based in Ballyhaise Co. Cavan.

If you live in Sligo / Leitrim / Donegal and are farming, or are thinking of entering farming, and would like some information or advice do not hesitate to contact us - we will be delighted to help.

Ben Wilkinson
Regional Manager Sligo / Leitrim / Donegal