‘Irish farming is suffering while Teagasc is under-resourced’

Irish farming is suffering while Teagasc is under-resourced, according to Macra na Feirme National President Sean Finan.

The Roscommon native is repeating Macra’s call for the Department of Agriculture to provide Teagasc with sufficient staff.

Expressions of interest outstrips places available meaning young farmers will miss out on schemes that require them to have their Green Cert, the organisation says.

Last year, Macra welcomed the approval of the additional 20 staff however, it highlighted Teagasc’s calculation that it requires further staff to meet the unprecedented demand for agricultural education.

“Enrolments in Teagasc colleges have increased 154% from 600 in 2006 to 1,500 in 2014 while staff numbers have declined from 108 to 98 in the same period.

“Similarly the advisory services are now delivered to 45,000 by approximately 220 advisors down from 400 in 2007. Teagasc have determined that it needs a minimum of 230-240 advisors to meet client needs.

“Teagasc is providing a unique service in the national interest whereby it integrates research, education and advisory services,” the Macra President says.

Finan has asked Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, to respond to Teagasc’s additional requirements.

“We understand that the matter is under consideration and we welcome that, however it is imperative that action is taken now as Irish farming is suffering while Teagasc is under resourced,” Finan said.

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