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New Forestry Module in Teagasc Certificate in Agriculture Courses

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Andrew Doyle TD launched a new Forestry Module in the Teagasc Certificate in Agriculture programme at the Teagasc exhibition at the National Ploughing Championships on Friday 21 September. This module, along with other forestry course components, will be delivered by newly-appointed Teagasc Forestry Liaison Officer, Richard Walsh.

In launching the new Forestry Module, Minister Doyle said that the forestry option can provide multiple benefits as a complementary enterprise on the farm. It is very timely and appropriate that this additional forestry module is now available to raise awareness of on-farm opportunities for young farmers of the future.

The Teagasc Education Vision report focuses on the delivery of education and the future needs and opportunities of land-based enterprises. Research has shown a high rate of return to Teagasc education at individual farm level with a substantial multiplier effect accruing throughout the supply chain. It is important that the next generation of young farmers are aware of all opportunities to fully maximise the potential of their farm resources. The agri-food and forestry sectors can provide a range of environmental goods and services as well as being key elements of a successful bioeconomy.

Frank Murphy, Teagasc Curriculum Development and Standards Unit Manager, outlined how the Teagasc education pathways are evolving. In welcoming the additional forestry module, he described how 'significant enhancements across Teagasc Education Programme have come into effect in 2018'. Mr Murphy added: 'These changes include an introduction to all the major farm enterprises including the farm forestry option'.

Dr Nuala Ni Fhlatharta, Head of the Teagasc Forestry Development Department, welcomed Richard Walsh, the newly-appointed Teagasc Forestry Liaison Officer, to the Teagasc Forestry team. Richard will assist in the development and delivery of forestry education and awareness-raising in the Agricultural Education Awards System and other relevant sectors.

Richard Walsh, the recently-appointed Teagasc Forestry Liaison Officer, completed a B.Sc. in Wood Science and Technology at the University of Limerick in 2013. Richard completed a M.Sc. in Forestry at the University of Aberdeen in 2014. He has recently undertaken a PhD in Forestry with Teagasc and the University of Aberdeen. The project investigated the potential and the role of minor coniferous species available for commercial forestry on marginal agricultural land.