None so why are they so un­der­val­ued?

Irish Independent - Farming - - FINANCE -

train­ing and ad­vice pro­vided by Tea­gasc is sec­ond to none.

It is a ma­jor ad­van­tage to have re­search, train­ing and ad­vi­sory all joined up in the one or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The suc­cess and dy­namic growth of the dairy in­dus­try is the per­fect ex­am­ple of the suc­cess of this ap­proach.

We only have to look at our neigh­bours in the UK to see where we would be with­out.

Mar­garet Thatcher ceased all govern­ment grants to agri­cul­tural re­search and ad­vi­sory ser­vices in the late 1980s and the UK’s agri­cul­tural in­dus­try has been rud­der­less ever since.

I re­cently vis­ited the new­est mem­ber of the EU, Croa­tia, where there is one ad­vi­sor per 1,000 farm­ers.

I vis­ited a 120-cow dairy farm where the farmer had availed of new EU grants to build a new dairy unit. How­ever, the phys­i­cal and fi­nan­cial per­for­mance on the farm was abysmal to the ex­tent that it was af­fect­ing the vi­a­bil­ity of the farm.

He was cry­ing out for some ba­sic ad­vice to im­prove his sys­tem of pro­duc­tion but it was sim­ply not avail­able in the coun­try.

In­flux

A new de­vel­op­ment is the in­flux of farm­ers from other coun­tries vis­it­ing our farms, con­fer­ences and re­search cen­tres.

There were many Bri­tish, French and New Zealan­ders at the Moorepark Open Day and they reg­u­larly at­tend the pop­u­lar dairy con­fer­ences ev­ery spring.

There is a wealth of in­for­ma­tion avail­able at these events, and very openly avail- able on the Tea­gasc and other web­sites.

Whereas I am all in favour of in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween farm­ers, re­searchers and ad­vi­sors, should it be more reg­u­lated?

More im­por­tantly, should we be more pro­tec­tive of our in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty and limit the use of such web­sites only to Irish farm­ers and ad­vis­ers?

Farm­ers should recog­nise, ap­pre­ci­ate and make the max­i­mum use of the qual­ity re­search, train­ing and ad­vice avail­able in this county.

With­out it, it’s like play­ing on football team with­out a trainer and a cap­tain — that’s a team des­tined to lose.

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