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Farm Advisory Services in Europe to Enter New Era

An International Knowledge Transfer Conference, focussing on the future of the farm advisory services and delivering innovation systems, opened in UCD today, Wednesday, 12 June.

Organised jointly by Teagasc, the European Commission and UCD, the three day conference heard how we are entering a new era for advisory services in Europe. The EU has proposed the expansion of the Farm Advisory System (FAS) and the establishment of a European Innovation Partnership (EIP). The main aim of the EIP is “Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability”. It seeks to ensure a steady supply of food, feed and biomaterials through efficient, productive, climate and environmentally friendly agriculture.

Addressing the 200 attendees, Dr Inge van Oost from the Agriculture and Rural Development DG in the European Commission said that advisers are key enablers of change and innovation, as they build bridges between research and farmers and between businesses and advisory services.

The ‘Budget for Europe 2020’ under the CAP heading foresees €4.5 billion for research and innovation in the field of food security, bioeconomy and sustainable agriculture.

Delivering a joint paper prepared by Teagasc, ASA and ACA, Dr. Tom Kelly, Head of Knowledge Transfer in Teagasc said: “There is an opportunity to expand the use of best practice in knowledge transfer onto farms. We must work together to achieve much more and leverage the support of industry stakeholders. There is a huge opportunity to improve agricultural productivity and sustainability through the new European Innovation Partnership. “
Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle stressed the importance of having an innovation pipeline. This needs to be actively developed and encouraged for new innovative techniques to emerge and be applied on farms.

President of UCD, Dr Hugh Brady, welcome the delegates to the conference and reiterated the universities commitment to the agriculture and food sector.