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Support for Sligo/Leitrim/Donegal farmers to take positive actions for climate

On the 26th June, the Signpost Advisory Programme was launched by Teagasc in the Sligo/Leitrim/Donegal Advisory Region. 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 will be 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 Sligo/Leitrim/Donegal, 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 (to be known as 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, James Keane highlighted, “It’s great that we have two experienced Signpost Advisors in our region who will provide free support to farmers to help them make their action plan.  Understanding and implementing these plans will be key to the industry achieving its climate goals.  Good management of soils and nutrients will be the foundation of every plan and, with the advisors’ help, farmers can make a plan that suits their farm that will assist in cutting emissions but maintain profitability.”

Sean Collery from Ballinacarrow in county Sligo is one of the Signpost Programme Demonstration farms in the Sligo/Leitrim/Donegal Region. 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” 0.87 kg of CO 2 equivalent is key to making progress.  “You can’t change what you don’t measure”. Continuing he said, “Having completed the Signpost Advisory Programme workshop I now know the most important steps that I can take to reduce my carbon footprint and play my part in the whole sector achieving its target to reduce emissions by 25% by 2030’.

Two Signpost advisors have been appointed in the Teagasc Sligo/Leitrim/Donegal region to directly support this new programme. Both bring a wealth of experience to their new roles. Cian Devaney is based in the Ballymote office in Sligo and Gary Fisher is based in the Letterkenny office in Donegal

Cian Devaney is from Hazelwood, in North County Sligo, with a dairy and sheep farming background. He graduated from University College Dublin in 2014 and completed an honours degree specialising in Dairy Business. He Began with Teagasc on the education team in the Sligo/Leitrim/Donegal region in 2015-2016 and prior to his appointment as a Signpost advisor worked as a dairy advisor in Ballyhaise Co Cavan and more recently in Ballymote Co. Sligo.  

Both advisors have stressed the importance of getting signed up for the programme. To sign up for the Signpost Advisory Programme click on: Sign up or contact to your local Teagasc advisor or advisory office.