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Calls for greater balance on Teagasc board

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Tillage farmers are calling for greater balance on the Teagasc Board, which has six dairy farmers on it.

The Grain Growers Association has said it is not calling into question the integrity of those on the board, but said the imbalance on the board must be recognised.

A spokesperson for the Grain Growers said "Ninety percent of farmers must not be represented by just ten percent that's from the one sector, the dairy sector . This is the current situation . This huge imbalance must be tackled immediately .

"The Teagasc Authority, the Department of Agriculture , the ministers approving the personnel, the farmer representative bodies on the Authority, must be questioned as to why they have let this happen .

"The integrity of those that sit at the table is not being questioned for one second but they must recognize the imbalance that exists . They must prioritize this at their next monthly meeting and set about how they are going to rectify and avoid the imbalance into the future."

It comes as IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe was appointed to the board of Teagasc after being nominated by the IFA as their representative.

Rushe, who was recently elected IFA Vice President, is a dairy farmer from County Kildare.

His appointment in the place of former IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy once again means all the farmer representatives on the Teagasc board are dairy farmers.

Other dairy farmers on the board include its Chairman Liam Herlihy (Chairman) who farms in County Waterford, Tommy Cooke member of ICMSA's National Council, Aurivo Chairman Patrick Duffy representative of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) and Former Young Farmer of the Year John Buckley representing Macra na Feirme.

Teagasc recently took criticism from An Taisce in relation to the prominence of dairy farmers on its 11-person board.

"Five of the 11 people on the board, including its chairman, are dairy farmers.

"While this may, of course, be just a coincidence, it is nonetheless of concern that Teagasc's director has chosen to engage in what sounds like public advocacy work for the expansionist dairy sector", said an An Taisce spokesperson.

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