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Teagasc Focus on Technical Performance on Farms

Clear targets for the agriculture and food industry have been set in the Food Harvest 2020 report. These will be met by family farms around the country. As a productive sector of the economy there is a need to collectively improve the performance and productivity of the agri-food sector.

Speaking today, Teagasc Director Professor Gerry Boyle said: “Agriculture is one of the solid, sustainable, productive sectors of the economy that will prosper into the future. The emphasis is now on getting more out of the sector, which already underpins the economic activity in rural areas. Measurements of on-farm performance for the different enterprises from the National Farm Survey or the Teagasc Profit Monitor Analysis, show the potential huge difference between what the top 25 per cent of farmers are achieving and the levels being attained by the bottom 25 per cent.”

Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships in Athy, Teagasc Director of Knowledge Transfer, Dr Tom Kelly said: “The Teagasc ‘One Goal Challenge’ aims to motivate all farmers to commit to taking just one initiative on their own farm in 2011, which will, in the first instance, help to boost their own profitability, but which will also help to increase the output from the agriculture sector and increase the contribution to the economy in rural towns and rural areas.”

SMART goals can radically improve your farm business. On the Teagasc stand at the National Ploughing Championships, Teagasc advisers, researchers, and educators are working with farmers to select SMART goals that will improve their own business. The focus is on transferring knowledge and encouraging farmers to commit to adopting new technologies on their farms which will build their existing performance and profit over time.

The opportunities in the agri-food sector are reinforced by the upsurge in students studying agriculture, horticulture and equine studies in Teagasc run courses. Dr Tom Kelly said: “Currently, there are 3,200 students attending Teagasc courses, across all our centres, and 1,155 of these are first year enrolments this year. This is the highest level of entrants for years, and continues the trend of the last three years where more young people are selecting an education in agriculture. This injection of new blood into the industry is vital to achieving the targets set in the Food Harvest 2020 report.”