Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (1005)

Patricia Ryan

Question:

1005. Deputy Patricia Ryan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he plans to take to improve the take up of Teagasc research services by farmers as referred to in the recent AGRIP report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6801/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Programme (AGRIP) Report was carried out as part of the 2020 Spending Review, which is an annual process to evaluate programmes and support evidence-based policy making.

There are a number of challenges for the agricultural sector in adapting production methods to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the sector. Research is crucial in providing evidence and improving technologies and the paper found that the AGRIP programme was broadly achieving its objectives.

The paper notes that the Teagasc Sustainability Report highlights that profitable farms are more likely to adopt new technologies and innovative practices and that these are underpinned by research findings such as those provided through AGRIP. The challenge remains to attract other farmers to engage and implement the latest technologies and practices to improve their farm performance. This was the basis for the recommendation to improve the dissemination of the research findings and to encourage uptake.

Teagasc welcomed the findings of the Spending Review. In terms of addressing the recommendation on disseminating these research outputs to farmers, Teagasc’s education and advisory programmes encourage the adoption of technologies and systems that improve technical and environmental performance and productivity across all farming systems. In addition, the soon to be launched SignPost Programme is a comprehensive national programme to improve the economic, environmental and social sustainability of all farms. Teagasc has a comprehensive programme of virtual open days, farm walks and conferences and is continuing to develop and enhance its written and online communication channels including on its website, through newsletters and through social media.

My Department will continue to work with Teagasc to develop, promote and transfer its research findings to farmers.