Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority, is the national body providing integrated research, advisory and training services to the agriculture and food industry, and rural communities. The Teagasc Advisory Service provides a local service to all customers through the 12 regional units.
In the Cork West region, there are three offices in Skibbereen, Clonakilty and Macroom, and three clinics in Bandon, Adrigole and Dunmanway to facilitate meeting farmers.
Tom Curran is the Cork West Advisory Regional Manager. He says that the Skibbereen office offers a range of services for both members and non-members.
‘In the Skibbereen office, there are five advisors on hand for our members. There are three dry stock advisors who cover beef and sheep, and two dairy advisors who look after dairy farmers,’ says Tom.
The focus of advisors is to provide a robust advisory service to all farmers and food producers in Skibbereen and the hinterland, from Mizen to Rosscarbery, Drinagh, Drimoleague, Bantry, Beara and Sheep’s Head. These advisors are supported by independent researchers and specialist advisors.
‘Members can avail of unlimited office and phone consultations, a farm visit and discussion group membership, amongst other services. Advice is provided on business planning, financial management, health and safety, grassland management, breeding and fertility, as well as tillage crops, milk quality, herd health, nutrition and soil fertility.’
‘In addition, support is given for GLAS inspections, completion of forestry forms, DAFM schemes, rural development, agri-tourism and farm building design. The advisors also provide support for wellbeing and various grant applications,’ adds Tom.
Within the Skibbereen office, Aoife Healy focuses on the Teagasc alumni programme by organising events specifically targeted at young farmers, while Michael Connolly prepares plans and applications for farmers under the Pearl Mussel Scheme.
‘We also provide expert advice and information on farm partnership formation, as well as succession and inheritance planning, including all the taxation and legal elements.’
Public events are hosted regularly, which all farmers, including non-members, can attend. These include workshops and demonstrations such as drainage events, lambing workshops and slurry spreading demonstrations.
‘Last year we hosted 44 public events in the West Cork region and we plan to have a similar programme this year. I would like to thank all our farmers and stakeholders in the West Cork area for their co-operation in hosting these free public events and I encourage all farmers to attend,’ adds Tom.
For more information about the services provided, visit www.teagasc.ie/about/farm-advisory/advisory-regions/cork-west