Teagasc Publish 2020 Annual Report and Financial Statements
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland and across the world in 2020 was dramatic. The flexibility and resilience of Teagasc staff has been impressive and the body of work they have delivered to support stakeholders, customers and clients is remarkable.
Teagasc Publish 2020 Annual Report and Financial Statements
These were the opening remarks of Liam Herlihy, the Chairman of the Teagasc Authority, at the publication today, Tuesday 28 September, of the organisation’s Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2020.
He said; “The first quarter of 2020 began with some very positive developments such as the ‘sod-turning’ for the National Food Innovation Hub at Teagasc Moorepark in January and a visit by the United Kingdom’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to Teagasc Grange in early March. Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic altered all our lives and work routines. But the silver lining in the cloud was the response of Teagasc staff who embraced the challenge of delivering entire programmes in advisory and education through online platforms. A special tribute is also due to our farm staff and those that work in our labs who had to attend their place of work throughout the entire period.”
COVID-19’s arrival meant a rapid upgrading of capabilities to allow a majority of personnel to work from home, and services to be delivered over the internet. All staff now use laptops and Windows 10 replaced Windows 7. The upgrade of data links continued apace.
Teagasc maintained its education programme delivery in 2020, by adapting to a hybrid delivery model, combining face to face and remote delivery within the national guidance parameters set out for education institutions. Teagasc maintained completion and QQI certification schedules for its 2019/2020 full-time programmes. Programmes for the 2020/ 2021 year commenced on schedule in September 2020. Likewise, Teagasc maintained delivery for its adult education part-time and distance Green Cert education programmes with courses continuing to commence and be completed on a rolling basis.
Again, in spite of the pandemic, Teagasc advisory staff exceeded their 2020 targets for client numbers, income, and consultations, albeit many of the latter were delivered by telephone or virtually. Through the calendar year 2020, Teagasc held 201 Zoom Webinars and 6,682 Zoom meetings, supporting farmer clients and other stakeholders.
Most Teagasc research projects continued during the pandemic, albeit with some delays and interruptions. In addition, Tegasc’s strong capability in bioscience research contributed to the national effort to control the virus. Researchers from Teagasc Moorepark led a Science Foundation Ireland-funded national consortium of scientists dedicated to the sequencing of variants of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The consortium sequenced the RNA of viruses isolated from patients who had lab-confirmed infections of COVID-19. The sequencing data was shared with the hospitals, the National Virus Reference Laboratory and the general public in order to track the spread of the virus into and within Ireland and identify mutations that may affect its transmission and treatment.
Teagasc continues to provide ‘Farm Safety Code of Practice (COP)’ training to farmers nationally. In 2020, an additional 66 advisors were trained to provide this training and associated advice based on the COP. Due to COVID-19, an on-line option of the training was initiated in 2020.
An EU-funded project entitled ‘Climate Smart Agriculture Research and Innovation Support for Dairy Value Chains in Eritrea’, with a total budget of €4,250,000 (EU contribution €4,000,000) formally commenced in February 2020 and will run for 52 months. The Teagasc-led international consortium aims to promote inclusive, sustainable and climate relevant transformation of the Eritrean dairy value chain to enhance food and nutrition security, reduce poverty, create job opportunities for young people, and promote resilience to climate change while mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.
2020 Financial Statements
State Grant-in-Aid for Current Operations of €132.916 million and for Capital purposes of €11.457 million was received in 2020. Excluding the Net Deferred Funding for Pensions, Teagasc income in 2020 was €198 million, which was the same as 2019. Compared to 2019 there was an increase of €2.5 million in Grant in Aid for current purposes, and €6.1 million in Grant in Aid for capital purposes. In 2020 Teagasc received €6 million of an €8.8 million capital grant for the National Food Innovation Hub at Moorepark.
In 2020 with the restrictions implemented to protect health and safety in the context of the Covid 19 pandemic, the level of activity in Teagasc was reduced compared to 2019. Covid-19 had a particularly negative impact on three income streams; externally funded research projects; commercial research project income; and fees for analysis. Knowledge Transfer income fell by €2.066 million (down 9.75%), including a reduction in Advisory Services income of €2.103 million. Research income fell by €4.224 million (down 11.3%) including a €3.391m drop in income from externally funded research projects, and a drop of €683,000 in fees for analysis.
Total operational expenditure in 2020, excluding pensions, was €145 million, which was €4 million less than in 2019. Capital funding was allocated to projects including the National Food Innovation Hub at Moorepark, an ICT upgrade, Kildalton farmyard upgrade and some smaller projects.
The full Teagasc Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2020 are available at: https://www.teagasc.ie/publications/2021/annual-report-2020--financial-statements.php
Pictured from (L to R): Liam Herilhy, Teagasc Chairman; Professor Frank O’Mara, incoming Teagasc Director and Professor Gerry Boyle the outgoing Teagasc Director on their way into the Teagasc Press Conference on the official publication of the Teagasc Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2020.