Teagasc to begin hiring again after six-year moratorium

Agricultural agency gets green light to recruit 75 researchers next year

 

Agricultural agency Teagasc has been given the green light from the Department of Agriculture to begin hiring staff again.

After a six-year moratorium on recruitment prompted by the financial crisis, the organisation said it planned to hire up to 75 new staff next year.

At the launch of its annual report, Teagasc said it had a number of advisory, education and research roles to be filled. The new positions would bring its number of frontline advisers to 234.

The agency said, however, the department had capped its total pay bill at €63 million for 2015, 2016 and 2017.

In its report, director Gerry Boyle said fluctuations in global commodity prices pose the biggest challenge for Irish farmers .

With reduced market supports due to successive reforms of the CAP, the prices that farmers receive are increasingly being influenced by global developments, not just in agricultural commodities but by the wider economic and political arena, he said.

Dairy farmers here have been hammered by an 18-month slump in milk prices linked to a fall-off in Chinese demand and the Russian trade embargo.

Prof Boyle noted the planned increased in milk production in the post-qutoa era would lead to greater greenhouse gas emissions associated with the dairy herd.

Though emissions from the more carbon intensive beef sector was likely to fall on the back of a reduced suckler herd, overall emissions from Irish agriculture was likely to increase.

Globally, 10-12 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture but in Ireland the figure is closer to a third because of the relatively large beef and dairy herds.

The Government is lobbying Brussels to have Ireland treated as a special case in the setting of EU emissions targets for 2030 ahead of the upcoming climate talks in Paris.

Teagasc’s report highlighted the need to develop more carbon-friendly methods of farming to reduce, “so that emissions are decoupled from the growth in food production”.