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Teagasc Launch the Mayo Advisory Region Strategic Plan 2015-2020

Teagasc has officially launched a new Strategic plan for the Mayo Advisory Region. The plan sets out the key priorities and strategic actions for the regions publicly funded advisory service over the next five years.

The main purpose of this exercise was to engage with stakeholders regarding the future services to be provided for farmers and the agricultural community in the region in the context of Food Harvest 2020 targets and the post milk quota era. Each of the twelve Advisory Regions of Teagasc has produced a Strategic Plan 2015- 2020. The first to be launched was the Mayo Advisory Region Strategic Plan, which was launched by John Comer, President of the ICMSA who highlighted the critical role the Teagasc Advisory Service in Mayo has in supporting farmers over the coming years.

Speaking at the event, Teagasc Board member Padraig Gibbons said that the detailed strategic planning exercise had highlighted the enormous opportunities for growth in the farming sector in the Mayo Region. He underlined the need for a well-resourced advisory service if the Food Harvest 2020 targets are to be achieved. Teagasc Advisory Services have a vital role to play in leading and guiding growth and expansion in the Region. Teagasc has seen a 45% decrease in front line adviser numbers since 2008.

Padraig Gibbons said that "It is imperative that we maintain a strong advisory service in the Region. Because of increasing demand for Teagasc Advisory Services and reduced staff numbers, advisors are carrying unsustainable workloads and this is putting the achievement of Food Harvest 2020 at risk. This Strategic Plan clearly sets out the minimum number of advisers required to support the sector between now and 2020 and it is essential that impending retirements are replaced immediately."

At the launch, Teagasc Regional Manager for Mayo, Peter Leonard, said that "Teagasc is committed to delivering high quality support to the industry locally and to working in close association with farmer clients, State agencies and local partners in achieving the 2020 targets. This process has provided us with a set of solid strategic actions for the next five years. Following consultation with our stakeholders we anticipate an increase in the order of 30% in milk supplies in the region over the next five years. In addition we anticipate increased output from our sheep industry and better profit from efficiency in cattle. Our new education courses will help farmers implement low carbon environmentally friendly and safe farming. This is an exciting time for agriculture in the Region."

The strategic plan profiles the farming systems, land type and fertility, and the farm sizes in Mayo. Teagasc facilities and staff are then examined and the consequences for the service if current trends of declining staff numbers continue. The partners with whom the Teagasc service works locally are also highlighted.

The strategy document concludes with a listing of the main research requirements specific to the area and how stakeholders will be engaged with during the period of the plan. Hard copies of the plan have been printed and are available at each of the Teagasc offices in Mayo or by clicking MayoAdvisoryRegionStrategicPlan2015_Final_web

Summary of Strategic Targets

Key Targets set out in the Teagasc Mayo Advisory Region Strategic Plan

  • Target 30%+ increase in milk output
  • Increase numbers participating in discussion groups in all enterprises
  • Work with Aurivo and collaborate with local engineering services to support dairy expansion
  • Promote expansion in sheep as a profitable enterprise
  • Targeted actions to stabilise suckler cow number
  • Provide a one to one service for new entrants and expanding dairy clients
  • Teagasc will work jointly will Animal Health Ireland to improve milk quality and disease status of livestock in the region.
  • Target 50% clients to move to lower carbon farming and completing Carbon Navigator