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Teagasc Turn Sod for 'The Paddy O'Keeffe Innovation Centre'

-for the advancement of Irish Grassland and Dairying

A sod turning event, to mark the commencement of building works on the site of the new Paddy O’Keeffe Innovation Centre took place at Teagasc’s Animal & Grassland, Research and Innovation Centre, Moorepark. Teagasc will invest up to €4 million in a state-of-the-art facility that will assist Teagasc in the delivery of several new initiatives that are pivotal to support the expansion of Irish farming in the context of Food Harvest 2020. 50% of the funding will be provided through a capital grant from FBD Trust.

This new centre will incorporate modern teaching and study facilities that will be central to the delivery of the new Dairy Business BAgrSc (Hons) degree (UCD), and Teagasc’s new Level 7 Diploma in Professional Dairy Farm Management. The Centre will also provide much needed research facilities for the Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Research and Knowledge Transfer post-graduate students. The facility will assist Teagasc in providing an integrated Teagasc Animal & Grassland, Research and Innovation programme, encompassing the activities at Moorepark, Grange, and Athenry, combined with the Knowledge Transfer specialist departments, to benefit the dairy, beef, sheep and pigs sectors.

The centre is named after the late Paddy O’Keeffe, a resolute supporter of Teagasc and what it represents. It reflects his massive contribution to the development of Irish agriculture. All through his life Paddy was a strong advocate of good farming practice grounded in strong science. The new ‘Paddy O’Keeffe Innovation Centre’, will be a reminder of his great legacy, and will ensure that the very best of applied science is available for all farmers, and the agricultural industry as a whole, into the future. It will play a key role in shaping and developing highly trained and educated young people that are vital, if our livestock industries are to grow and flourish and meet the targets set out in Food Harvest 2020.

Mr. Michael Berkery, Chairman of FBD said: “FBD Trust is delighted to co-finance this fantastic facility and in so doing recognise the extraordinary contribution of Paddy O ‘ Keeffe in his lifetime to FBD, to farming and to research. This facility will greatly assist Teagasc in its delivery of cutting-edge research combined with a strong education programme for the next generation of young farmers, two vital areas championed by Paddy in his lifetime. It will stand as a fitting tribute to him for generations to come.”

Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc said: “As well as being used for teaching and training functions, the centre will also be available for the delivery of in-service training for Teagasc advisers, and as a venue for small scale scientific, or farmer meetings and conferences. I would like to acknowledge FBD’s support; without this generous support we simply would not have been able to undertake a project on this scale at a time of scarce public resources”.