Teagasc Launches the Waterford/Kilkenny Advisory Region, Strategic Plan 2015-2020
Today Teagasc officially launched the Waterford Kilkenny 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. Each of the twelve Advisory Regions of Teagasc has produced a Strategic Plan and the Waterford Kilkenny plan was launched by Mr. Liam Herlihy, Chairman of Glanbia Plc. who highlighted the critical role the Teagasc Advisory Service in the region has in supporting farmers over the coming years.
Speaking at the event, Teagasc Board member Dr. Karina Pierce said that the detailed strategic planning exercise had highlighted the enormous opportunities for growth in the farming sector in the Waterford Kilkenny Region. She 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 39% decrease in advisory numbers since 2008. Dr. Pierce 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 impending retirements are replaced immediately.’
At the launch, Teagasc Regional Manager for Waterford Kilkenny, John Moloney, 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 60% 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.’