How will the Signpost programme engage all Irish farmers?

The Teagasc Signpost Programme will see the agricultural authority mobilise all of its advisors and teachers to engage with both farmers and students in climate action.

The programme is set to be run in two parts: Signpost Farms, the participants chosen as demonstration farms; and the Signpost Advisory campaign, “which will engage with all farmers and support them to move towards more sustainable farming systems”.

Under the second element, the Signpost Advisory campaign, Teagasc says it will adopt a hybrid or blended approach to training, using both traditional and digital approaches.

The traditional will consist of the “tried and tested” development approaches of short training courses, events, discussions groups, one-to-one consultations and media.

The roll-out of a training programme, initially for advisors, consultants and other rural professionals and then for all farmers, will form a key part of Signpost Advisory, the agency says.

Teagasc expects that this training course “will enable farmers to identify appropriate climate actions for their farms; farmers can then work with a trained adviser to develop a FSP [Farm Sustainability Plan] for their own farm”.

The agricultural authority noted that it intends to investigate the use of a digital learning approach to raising awareness of and bringing about climate action.

“We would like to explore with our Signpost partners how best to roll out training to their suppliers, and are willing to consider adjusting our approach depending on partner requirements,” it was added.

“In this regard, we would like to explore with partners how suppliers could be motivated to engage with digital learning.

“We will build on our existing knowledge resources to develop a dedicated website (a so-called “one-stop shop”) for climate action.

We will also create a rich and varied digital learning resource, potentially including podcasts, videos, micro-learning resources and online self-assessment tools. Learning materials will be developed using a co-design approach.

“We will establish a communications database, and issue targeted communications on a regular basis. We will seek to leverage both Teagasc and partner networks/communications channels to extend climate action messages.

“Finally, and very importantly, Bord Bia will be a partner in the Signpost programme. Teagasc is currently in detailed discussion with Bord Bia on how both organisations can collaborate to support the reduction of agricultural emissions,” the authority concluded.