Funding for consultant training ‘historic and significant’ – ACA

The €1 million in support for training for agricultural consultants that was announced over the weekend by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has been welcomed by the Agricultural Consultants Association (ACA).

Speaking after the announcement on Saturday (October 17), ACA president Tom Canning said it was “historic and significant” for ACA members and their farmer clients.

According to Canning, the funding will “assist and develop the necessary skills for the new challenges in our sector as the advisory service will play a significant role in behavioural changes of Irish farmers in areas such as climate action and farm safety”.

We are entering very challenging times for Irish farmers and ACA members will, as always, work closely with the Department of Agriculture in contributing to enhance the provision of advisory services to Irish farmers.

“This announcement acknowledges the critical role of agricultural consultants and we believe this development is the commencement of full and greater collaboration between all the stakeholders in the advisory service,” the ACA president argued.

He went on to give a general welcome for the agriculture-related provisions in Budget 2021 (announced last week), and he thanked Minister McConalogue and his junior ministers Pippa Hackett and Martin Heydon for considering ACA recommendations.

“These new initiatives and supports will create a positive impact for farmers and the sector at such a critical time,” Canning concluded.

‘Key role to play’

Minister McConalogue said on Saturday that “high-quality professional advice will have a key role to play” in department initiatives relating to farm safety; agri-environment measures; a national soil sampling programme; and new supports for the tillage sector.

“Similarly, as we prepare for the introduction of a new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)…providing agricultural consultants with the most up-to-date information available will be a central element of our approach,” the minister added.

He confirmed that his department will shortly be consulting with the relevant stakeholders regarding the design and delivery of the training.