Better animal health on farms means less stress for farmers, according to Mike Magan, Chairman of AHI, who said the impact of good animal health has a huge impact of the lives of farmers.

“I’ve been farming 44 years this week and never before has my herd been healthier. I do everything Animal Health Ireland tells me to do.”

However, he said that AHI has outgrown its original model and it must now be supported to expand its scope and scale of activities to further enhance the progress being made.

“With good planning we can have a national herd with a health status that is the envy of the world.”

The CEO of AHI, Joe O’Flaherty, reiterated this point and said more can and needs to be done to further improve animal health in Ireland, with a more robust and expanded funding model.

Launching the strategic plan, the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, praised the work of AHI and said was helping Ireland on its journey to becoming a world leader in animal health.

He pointed to the rate of TB reactors which, he said, had fallen from 6,000 to 5,000 this year alone.

He also said that disease management and environmental issues around dairy expansion are key areas for Irish farmers and the wider agricultural sector.

Objectives of the AHI 2015-17 plan include working to establish a voluntary Johne’s disease programme, as well as developing new programmes to support the beef sector.