Teagasc Launches Tipperary Advisory Region, Strategic Plan 2015-2020
Mr Tom Hayes TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine officially launched the Teagasc Tipperary Advisory Region Strategic Plan 2015- 2020. The plan sets out the key priorities and strategic actions for the regions publically 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 in the region in the context of Food Harvest 2020 targets and the post milk quota era. The Minister highlighted the critical role the Teagasc Advisory Service in Tipperary has in supporting farmers over the coming years.
Speaking at the event, Teagasc Board member Tommy Cooke said that the detailed strategic planning exercise had highlighted the enormous opportunities for growth in the farming sector in the Tipperary 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 50% decrease in advisory numbers since 2008. Mr Cooke 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 advisors required to support the sector between now and 2020 and it is essential that existing vacancies and impending retirements are replaced immediately.’
At the launch, Teagasc Regional Manager for Tipperary Donal Mullane 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 50% 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. We have seen a huge demand for our Green Cert/Distance education courses and 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 Tipperary. Teagasc facilities and staff are then examined and the consequences for the service if current trends of declining staff numbers continue. Also highlighted are the partners with which the service works locally.
The 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 Tipperary.
Summary of Strategic Targets
Key Targets set out in the Teagasc Tipperary Advisory Region Strategic Plan
- Target 50% increase in milk output.
- Provide a one to one service and training for new entrants and expanding dairy clients.
- Collaborate with the milk processors in the region to support sustainable dairy expansion.
- Target actions to stabilise suckler cow numbers.
- Maximise participation in discussion groups.
- Key workshops and public events to the wider farmer audience including Farm Safety.
- Increase the number of graduates in green cert/distance learning courses.
- Use BETTER/Monitor Farms and Green Acres project to promote best practice locally.
- Promote quality through the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme.
- Joint approach with Animal Health Ireland to improve milk quality and disease status of livestock in the region.
- Target 50% of clients to move to lower carbon farming and completing carbon navigator.
- Facilitate the maximum number of clients applying for GLAS