Written Answers. - Teagasc Charges.

Frank Crowley

Question:

147 Mr. Crowley asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food whether Teagasc will drop the visiting charge to farmers in view of the hardship being experienced as a result of a drop in their income.

Frank Crowley

Question:

148 Mr. Crowley asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if he is aware that Teagasc have been a total failure since their reorganisation three years ago; and if he will indicate the number of visits made by Teagasc advisers to farmers during each year for the past five years.

I propose to take Questions Nos. 148 and 147 together.

Teagasc have not been a failure. They have provided, and continue to provide, a good and efficient service for Irish farmers and the agricultural sector in general.

Teagasc advisory services have been availed of by farmers as follows:

Year

No. of Farms Visited by Advisers

No. of Farm Visits

Phone and Office Consultations

Attendances at Demonstrations, Farm Walks, Meetings, etc.

1985

72,000

185,000

140,000

94,000

1986

62,000

170,000

130,000

105,000

1987

64,000

140,000

290,000

100,000

1988

40,000

97,000

283,000

200,000

1989

31,000

81,000

285,000

105,000

The question of charges for farm visits is a matter for Teagasc in the first instance. Teagasc's view is that current levels of charges are modest relative to the cost of providing the services and the value that can be derived by farmers from them. There are no proposals to drop such charges.
It should be noted that, while there has been a drop in the number of farms visited, phone and office consultations have more than doubled between 1985 and 1989.