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Teagasc Appoints New Director of Knowledge Transfer

Teagasc has appointed Dr Tom Kelly as its Director of Knowledge Transfer. The Teagasc Authority approved the appointment at its meeting today, Wednesday, 7 April. Dr Kelly will take up his new role, joining the Teagasc senior management team, later in April.

As part of its Change Programme, Teagasc has combined its advisory service with its education service to create a single Knowledge Transfer Directorate, which will be led by Dr Kelly. He is currently programme manager for Farm Management and Technology in the Teagasc advisory service, and also has responsibility for Curriculum and Quality Assurance in education. He leads a team of specialist advisers working in the areas of financial management, farm buildings, animal nutrition; ICT based services and farm partnerships. Tom has co-ordinated Teagasc involvement in the Single Farm Payment application process, which is a vital component of the incomes and livelihoods of thousands of farmers.

As Director of Knowledge Transfer, he will lead Teagasc’s education and advisory services forward into its next phase of development, as student numbers in agricultural education continue to increase and as farmers look to improve on-farm technical performance to sustain profits into the future.

Congratulating Dr Kelly on his appointment, Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle said: “Transferring existing knowledge and new technologies onto farms, to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of Irish farmers, is a top priority for Teagasc. We have excellent professionals working in our advisory and education services and under Tom’s leadership, there will be a renewed emphasis on business and technology. Over the last two years he has spearheaded Teagasc’s financial campaign to assist individual farmers who have encountered financial difficulties due to the downturn in agricultural commodity prices and the downturn in the wider economy.”

Dr Kelly said: “It’s a challenging time in farming. In recent years farm prices have become more volatile, especially for dairy and cereal producers. There has been a period of record on-farm investment and a sharp decline in off-farm employment, which when combined are tightening incomes and margins on farms. Teagasc has the technical knowledge to improve on-farm performance and output and the financial planning expertise to help farmers manage their way through these difficulties. Teagasc itself faces a period of great change which is mapped out through the Teagasc Change Programme, and is currently being implemented.”

Dr Kelly graduated from University College Dublin with an honours BAgrSc in 1977. He completed his Masters, studying milking machine liners in UCD/ Moorepark, before undertaking post graduate research on the influence of farm building design and environmental factors on calf performance in UCD/ Grange for his PhD. He holds an honours MBA from the University of Limerick and a Diploma in Management Development from Leeds University.

He joined Teagasc’s predecessor ACOT in 1984 and worked as a dairy specialist until 1995. He was promoted to regional development manager for Teagasc South, working in the advisory and education services until 2004, before taking up his current role.

Tom hails from a mixed dairy farm in Glenmore, County Kilkenny, and now lives with his wife Ann and five children on a drystock/tillage farm in Killenaule, County Tipperary. He is a member of the Agricultural Science Association, the Irish Grassland Association and is a former president of the Irish Society for Information Technology in Agriculture.