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Oisin McGlynn

Walsh Fellowships

Project Title: Engaging the 'middle third' of Dairy farmers - Teagasc Glanbia joint programme

Teagasc has approximately 10,000 dairy farmer clients. An annual dairy programme is prepared and extended through a variety of extension methodologies. These include farm visits, farm walks, seminars and office consultations through a number of joint programmes with dairy processors. Annual reviews of the programme show that approximately one third of suppliers farmers are actively engaged through discussion groups and farm walks and seminars. The middle third of suppliers, while typically substantial milk producers are less engaged. Identifying ways of increasing this third’s level of engagement would increase the efficacy of the Teagasc dairy programme. The main objectives of this study are;

  1. To identify the Middle Third’s needs and expectations from advisory services.
  2. To identify factors effecting the engagement between the middle third of dairy farmers and advisory services.
  3. To establish methods of engaging the Middle Third of Dairy farmers.

An action research approach will be applied in this study. Farmers will be selected by advisors in the North Kilkenny region based on their engagement with advisory services. A workshop will be carried out to establish how farmers would like advice delivered to them and what topics they would like to focus on. These findings will be piloted over a one year period. A baseline survey will be completed at the beginning and end to measure the effectiveness of the advisory  intervention. Focus groups will also be held with farmers, Teagasc and Glanbia personnel to develop and improve advisory services.

Engaging more effectively with the ‘middle third’ of dairy producers will result in an increase in good practice adoption on their farms. Such engagement will increase the profitability and sustainability of this cohort of farmers. Identifying means of increasing engagement with other agri-professionals will increase the number of actors promoting Teagasc’s dairy programme. 

Location: Kilkenny

Teagasc Supervisor: Richard O’Brien

UCD Supervisor: Dr. Jim Kinsella