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Support for farmers in Westmeath/Offaly/Cavan/Monaghan to take positive actions

On the 21st of June, the Signpost Advisory Programme was launched by Teagasc in the Westmeath/Offaly/Cavan/Monaghan 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, including12 in Westmeath/Offaly/Cavan/Monaghan, 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, Con Feighery highlighted, “The Signpost Advisory Programme will be our flagship programme over the next few years and will be the vehicle by which Teagasc at regional level will assist farmers (clients and non-clients) to reduce emissions and farm in a more sustainable fashion.”

Ken Gill from Clonbullogue, Co. Offaly is one of the Signpost Programme Demonstration farms in the Westmeath/Offaly/Cavan/Monaghan Region. He is 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 by saying, ‘We looked at how I could reduce emissions on my farm, and chose 3 climate measures that suited my system. The support of my Signpost advisor was a big help, as we put together a plan where I could see the positive impact my farm would have environmentally. This meant I had something concrete to work off’

Continuing, he said ‘All of these measures improved my farm sustainability, but have also made a massive difference as every single one of them have increased profit. So it’s a win-win for everyone.’

Two Signpost advisors have been appointed in the Teagasc Westmeath/Offaly/Cavan/Monaghan region to directly support this new programme. Both bring a wealth of experience to their new roles. Catherine Kilmartin is from Kinnegad, Co. Westmeath & Eoghan Callaghan is from Cadamstown, Co. Offaly. They 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.