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Teagasc Advisory Region Strategic Plan for Laois, Kildare, Meath, Louth, and Dublin Launched

Teagasc officially launched the five year Advisory Region Strategic Plan for counties Laois, Kildare, Meath, Louth, and Dublin today. The priorities and strategic actions for the development of agriculture on the 520,000 hectares in the region, through a publically funded advisory service over the next five years, are set out. The plan was produced following consultation with advisers, specialist, researchers and stakeholders regarding the future services required in the region. This was done in the context of Food Harvest 2020 targets and the changes anticipated once milk quotas are abolished this year.

Today’s launch at the Teagasc Centre in Grange, County Meath is the last of the 12 Teagasc Advisory Region Strategic Plans to be launched. The plan was launched by Chairman of the Teagasc authority, Dr Noel Cawley. Speaking at the event, Dr Cawley said that the Advisory Service in these counties plays a critical role in supporting farmers. The detailed strategic plan highlights the enormous opportunities for growth in the farming sector in these counties. Dr Cawley stressed the need for a well-resourced advisory service to ensure the targets in the Food Harvest 2020 plan are achieved. Teagasc Advisory Services have a vital role to play in leading and guiding growth and expansion in the Region.

Dr Cawley said: “it’s imperative that we maintain a strong advisory service in the Region. The organisation has seen a sharp decline in advisory numbers since 2008. Demand for Advisory Services is increasing and staff numbers have reduced leaving advisers carrying workloads that are becoming unsustainable. The 12 Strategic Plans launched over the last two weeks around the country, clearly set out the minimum number of advisers required to support the sector between now and 2020.”

At the launch, Teagasc Regional Manager for Laois/Kildare/Meath/Louth/Dublin, Larry O’ Loughlin said that primary farming production is worth €590 million in this region and Teagasc are committed to delivering high quality support to the industry and to working closely with farmer clients, State agencies and local partners in achieving the Food Harvest 2020 targets and the targets set out in this strategic plan. This is an exciting time for agriculture in the Region and there are opportunities for growth and development arising from the abolition of milk quota, the use of discussion groups to transfer technical knowledge onto farms and the opportunities to improve efficiencies. Our new education courses will help farmers implement low carbon environmentally friendly farming. A farm safety message will underpin all our advisory and education programmes.”

Key Targets set out in the Teagasc Advisory Region Strategic Plan for Laois, Kildare, Meath, Louth and Dublin include:

  • Increase dairy output by 40% in the region
  • Promote new entrants into dairying
  • Increase beef output by 20% in the region
  • Target a 5% increase in sheep numbers
  • Improve crop rotation in tillage farming
  • Encourage land collaboration through long term leasing and share farming
  • Increase emphasis on discussion group activities for dairying, beef, sheep and tillage farmers
  • Underpin all advisory activities and education courses with a farm safety message

The strategic plan for Laois, Kildare, Meath, Louth, and Dublin covers all the main farming enterprises - beef, dairy, sheep, tillage, pigs, horticulture, forestry and alternative enterprises.

A copy of the Teagasc Advisory Strategic Plans for each of the 12 Teagasc advisory regions is available at http://www.teagasc.ie/publications/PublicationsBy.aspx