Farm Ireland

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Green light for new Ag degree course

Unveiling: IFA President Eddie Downey
Unveiling: IFA President Eddie Downey

Ken Whelan

The long-awaited launch of IT Carlow's new degree in sustainable farming will provide a 'blueprint' for the development of the southeast as a leader in the Irish food production sector, campaigners have said.

The degree course was first mooted as far back as 2011 when farmers and agri-firms in Wexford had the course independently designed for what was seen as a clear educational need in the area.

Four years later the Degree Programmes in Sustainable Farm Management and Agribusiness will finally be unveiled next Friday by IFA president Eddie Downey and Government Chief Whip Paul Keogh at the IT Carlow Wexford Campus in Summerhill Road, Wexford.

Demand for the course was highlighted by the high number of students from farming backgrounds completing the Green Cert courses in the wake of the economic collapse.

A campaign, lead by Wexford farmer John Doyle and former Enniscorthy VEC chief, Tommy Kelly, was backed by local agri- business and farming interests as well as the IFA and FBD.

Carlow IT backed the degree course designed by UCD academic Jim Breen but it took four years to get it onto the CAO's approved degree list.

The approval of the degree and a separate degree in marine harvesting at IT Carlow will provide a "blueprint" to develop the southeast's neglected potential as a leader in food production, said Mr Kelly.

"Wexford and its cohort of agricultural students have been neglected by the industrial and agricultural agencies for far too long," he added.

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The four-year degree course will include a six-month work placement with leading agri-business companies such as Glanbia and Dairymaster.

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