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French Ambassador visits Teagasc Moorepark and VistaMilk Research Centres

A delegation from the French Embassy in Ireland, including His Excellency Ambassador, Stéphane Crouzat as well as Economic, Academic and Scientific attaches accompanied by the honorary consul in Cork visited Teagasc Moorepark on Wednesday, 11 March.

French Ambassador visits Teagasc Moorepark and VistaMilk Research Centres
French Ambassador visits Teagasc Moorepark and VitaMilk Research Centres. Researcher Katie Starsmore discusses her research into feed additives and their effect on methane emissions. Pictured from L to R were: Katie Starsmore, Donagh Berry, VistaMilk, SFI Research Centre, Teagasc; French Ambassador Stéphane Crouzat, Isabelle Charmeil, Josselin Le Gall, French Embassy.

The visit was an opportunity to present and discuss the work currently undertaken by both Teagasc and VistaMilk SFI Research Centre regarding two of the main challenges faced by both the French and Irish dairy industries: Brexit and climate change.

The VistaMilk SFI Research Centre is funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and represents a unique collaboration between Agri-Food and information communications technology (ICT) research institutes and leading Irish/multinational food and ICT companies.

Speaking during the visit, Professor Gerry Boyle, Teagasc Director, said: “In the context of the debate on the long-term sustainability of dairy farming systems, it is essential that our two nations, two of the biggest European players in the area, maintain strong research collaborations, exchange ideas and knowledge in order for our respective industries to innovate and become part of the solution. Our countries are also some of the most exposed to the impact of Brexit and our industry’s preparedness and resilience to the UK’s departure from the EU will be key in the coming months.”

The visit also included a tour of the facilities where the on-going novel research being undertaken by the VistaMilk Centre in collaboration with several (inter)national industry partners on reducing dairy cow methane emissions was put on display. Donagh Berry, the Centre’s Director explained: “VistaMilk has a strong focus on joint research with the industry stakeholders. We hope this visit will strengthen our long-term and fruitful collaborations with French industrial and research partners in the future.”

Ireland and France, which combined represent over 23% of the EU27 dairy herd and 21.5% of its milk production, have long been cooperating on dairy and food research. Teagasc and its French counterparts have worked on numerous projects since the 1990s, primarily through EU funding support schemes such as the multiple Framework and Interreg Programmes over the years.

This strong relationship was celebrated back in May 2017 when, as a tribute to Teagasc generally, and Professor Boyle in particular, he was honoured as Chevalier des Palmes Académiques by the previous Ambassador of France to Ireland. The Ordre des Palmes Académiques is an order of knighthood of France for academics and educational figures.

His Excellency Stephane Crouzat declared: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to witness first-hand the remarkable research that is taking place at this Teagasc facility. Teagasc is playing a major role in finding solutions for the agricultural sector in the fight against climate change. France and Ireland are facing the same challenges in adapting agriculture to a carbon neutral future, and there is much that our countries can do in common.”