Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has had to take its responsible antibiotics use courses online after it was forced to cancel face-to-face courses due to Covid-19.

The courses, which are delivered by AI Services on behalf of CAFRE, will be live-streamed using the same team of vets who deliver the face-to-face workshops.

They will cover the same practical areas covered in the face-to-face workshops and you will be able to ask questions, of the vets, during the presentation.

Attendance certificates will be issued to eligible producers on completion of the course. This will meet the current training requirement under the NI Beef & Lamb Farm Quality Assurance Scheme.

A pilot webinar took place earlier this month presented by AI Services vet, Brian Kennedy, MRCVS.

Around 45 beef and sheep producers pre-registered and logged on to the event.

A department spokesperson said: “Overall feedback about webinar has been very positive, both in terms of the quality of the course and the use of the online delivery method. A further 300 producers have already have enrolled for courses over the coming weeks.

“The online webinars will not be everyone’s cup of tea for various reasons such as poor rural broadband or lack of confidence in using this approach.

The face-to-face workshops will still be the preferred approach both for the vets delivering the training and for most producers and will continue to be the main method of delivery – Covid-19 restrictions permitting.

Attendance for the webinars must be pre-registered, as with the face-to-face workshops.