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Renewing Partnership: SRUC and Teagasc cultivate agricultural sustainability

Blog by Professor Frank O’Mara, Director, Teagasc and Professor Wayne Powell, Principal and Chief Executive, SRUC.

Renewing Partnership: SRUC and Teagasc cultivate agricultural sustainability
Senior leaders from SRUC and Teagasc

Last week marked a significant step in reaffirming the strong partnership between SRUC and Teagasc. The senior executive team from Teagasc made a visit to Edinburgh, rejuvenating the bond that the pandemic had temporarily constrained. This meeting between two leading agricultural institutions from Scotland and Ireland was not just a courtesy call; it was a testament to the enduring relationship that has been cultivated over the years, underscoring the vital role of ongoing collaboration in tackling contemporary agricultural challenges together.

Both SRUC and Teagasc are respected independent and authoritative voices in the agricultural and food industry, providing critical extension and education services that effectively translate research into practical applications for farming. Our collaborative spirit, particularly when addressing climate challenges, showcases our mutual commitment not only to support farmers but also to spearhead an environment of innovative collaboration. This ethos is at the heart of our efforts to drive forward sustainable agriculture.

Our advisory and extension services, tailored specifically to the needs of our local farming communities, stand as a cornerstone of both our operations. Both SRUC and Teagasc consistently provide the necessary guidance, knowledge, and technical assistance, to empower farmers to optimise their practices and make strides towards economic, environment and social sustainability.

In response to the climate crisis, both organisations have developed specific programmes to support farmers. SRUC’s delivery of the Scottish Government's Farm Advisory Service and the Farming for a Better Climate initiative and Teagasc’s Signpost Programme in Ireland provide practical advice to reduce emissions, boost biodiversity, and foster environmental stewardship. These initiatives are crucial in our journey towards a more resilient agricultural sector. Through them, we demonstrate how collaboration amplifies our impact, allowing us to achieve more together than we could individually.

In both organisations, programmes such as these are stronger because they draw on our combined research, advisory and education capabilities.

Our history of collaboration spans various areas of research, including breeding and genetics, nutrition, animal health and welfare, and sustainable crop protection, many of which are built on longstanding collaborating funded through EU Framework Programmes. But our partnership goes beyond funding; it’s a deep-rooted collaboration which spans joint publications and the shared mentorship of students, reflecting our unwavering commitment to advancing agricultural education and research.

The blend of our expertise not only enhances the impact of our research but also provides an enriched learning environment for our students. As we tackle the challenges facing today’s agriculture sector, the alignment of our missions is more evident than ever. Our unique strengths, when combined, lay a solid foundation for a partnership that is instrumental in delivering sustainability and innovation.

SRUC and Teagasc stand united as pillars of knowledge and expertise within the agricultural community. Our joint commitment to extending services, fostering climate resilience, and conducting collaborative research plays a significant role in shaping the future of the agriculture sector.

The SRUC and Teagasc partnership stands as a testament to the power of working collectively to overcome global agricultural challenges and pave the way for a more sustainable future.