Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Teagasc Annual Report 2018: Discussion

Professor Gerry Boyle:

We are. We have an options programme whereby we sit down with all farmers and discuss their current circumstances and options. We certainly recognise opportunities within beef production. We would be asking farmers to look very closely at the possibilities associated with heifer rearing, for example. It gives a more continuous level of income. We also say we see opportunities in the rearing of dairy calves. We would be discussing those options. It is challenging in the beef sector because the demographics do not encourage people to embrace change. We need to segment the population and have a targeted series of measures along the lines suggested. Forestry is another example. I do not have to tell the Deputy that there are varying views on forestry. We can certainly show that, on marginal land, forestry is quite attractive relative to beef production. It is challenging, however, to persuade farmers.