Farmers armed with the most up-to-date skills in innovative farming technologies and entrepreneurship, in addition to scientific and agricultural knowledge, will be the result of two new degree programmes launched in Wexford today by Government Chief Whip & Minister of State at the Departments of An Taoiseach and Defence Paul Kehoe, TD. Among those attending the event were Director of Teagasc, Professor Gerry Boyle and IFA President Mr Eddie Downey, as well as representatives of the IFA in the South East.
“Today’s farmer needs not only the scientific and agricultural knowledge to compete in a very competitive marketplace, but also significant business acumen and entrepreneurship skills.” commented Dr Patricia Mulcahy, President of Institute of Technology Carlow. “IT Carlow has always been to the forefront in developing the skills and knowledge of entrepreneurs and these particular programmes build on this long tradition. We have a proven ability in helping businesses develop new products and services in multiple sectors from engineering to bioscience to ICT and design. This ability is now being directed towards farming and agri-business. Graduates of these programmes will contribute to the success of Ireland’s €24 billion farm and food production sector and the demands of the Irish food and agri-business industry”
Speaking at the launch, Minister Kehoe said, “It is apparent that these programmes are looking to the future and towards a changing environment in which the farmer will need to be as competent in operating a GPS system, or drawing up a business plan as he or she will be competent in animal or crop husbandry. Farming, probably more than most other sectors of our economy, is vigorously competing in a globalised market which is very finely attuned to the business imperatives of the agri-food sector”. Minister Kehoe complimented Ms Caroline Murphy, Head of the Wexford Campus and the faculty of IT Carlow for bringing this important initiative to fruition in collaboration with the IFA and Teagasc.
In addition to the provision of entrepreneurship skills and innovative farming technologies, a key component of the course will be regular site visits to farms and organic food producers, in addition to 24-weeks work placement, facilitated by Teagasc.
The IFA welcomed the initiative with IFA President Eddie Downey commenting, “There is a huge demand for agricultural education throughout the country and we need to make sure the right opportunities are there to meet that demand. This new course will equip graduates to capitalise on the opportunities that exist within the agri-food sector and to meet the ambitious growth targets expected of the sector in the years to come”.
Teagasc Director Professor Gerry Boyle commented, “Teagasc will work closely with Institute of Technology Carlow to ensure that the new degree programme meets the emerging needs of the agri-food sector in the South East.”
The following new degree programmes are available through CAO 2016: