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FBD Contributes €6m to New Research Centre to Make Irish Agriculture More Sustainable

Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, announced that contributions by FBD Holdings, FBD Trust CLG and Farmer Business Developments amounting to €6 million have been made to the development of a new Centre for Sustainable Animal and Grassland Research at Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy Co Cork.

This significant contribution of €6 million towards the development of a new state of the art facility for research on grassland-based livestock will be a key driver in supporting farmers to achieve their climate reduction targets and ensure that the industry is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable for generations to come. The proposed centre will provide essential research infrastructure to support climate-related research, as well as facilitate research that can provide innovative solutions to improve the environmental sustainability of pasture-based systems and improve the efficiency of Ireland’s ruminant sector. When built, the Centre will be named after the late Padraig Walshe.

Teagasc will now engage in detailed planning of the new facility, which will be subject to the normal approvals process and controls for capital projects in the public sector.

Speaking in Fermoy, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, welcomed the decision of FBD Group to make this very significant financial contribution towards the development of the new research facility, saying, “I would like to thank FBD for their very generous support for public sector research, and in general their long-standing support for projects in the agri-food sector. This new investment will improve agricultural research capacity, so vital to address key issues facing the agriculture sector, including strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient losses to water. As a food producing nation, I want to see Ireland achieve these environmental imperatives, while crucially maintaining agricultural output. Key to this will be a focus on improving competitiveness and developing a range of scientific solutions in support of productivity. I welcome Teagasc’s ambitions and look forward to the detailed plans being developed in the coming months.”

Tómas Ó Midheach, Chief Executive of FBD Holdings said, “FBD’s support of this critically important initiative will help to advance climate related research.  For us at FBD Insurance, we are delighted to be involved as we all have a role in tackling the climate imperatives of our time. The farming community is working hard to meet the 25% emissions reductions target by 2030. We believe that the research conducted at this facility by Teagasc has the potential to contribute to this reduction in a real and meaningful way.”

Michael Berkery, Chairman of FBD Trust CLG said, “FBD Trust is very proud to support and be associated with this research and scientific initiative.  The important work to be carried out by Teagasc at this facility in Moorepark aligns with the objectives of FBD Trust CLG and to advance the interests of Irish Farm families and the farming sector in Ireland.”

Pat Murphy, Chairman of Farmer Business Developments said, “we are delighted to support Teagasc in this very important venture and believe that it is very fitting that the new Centre is to be called after our much-missed colleague, the late Padraig Walshe.  Padraig was a pioneering grass based dairy farmer and always an early adopter of the latest technologies on his award-winning dairy farm in Co. Laois. He also made a significant contribution to agriculture and farming both in Ireland and abroad, having served as president of Macra na Feirme, President of IFA, President of COPA, Chairman of Farmer Business Developments plc and a wide range of other activities. Padraig was a strong advocate for Teagasc Moorepark over the years, and always had a great hunger for the latest research developments.”

Teagasc Director, Professor Frank O’Mara said, “this new research centre will allow Teagasc to undertake research to address the great challenges facing agriculture today, and allow the mechanistic in-depth research that is urgently needed to develop new sustainable solutions that are suitable for widespread deployment on grass-based systems. The investment will be used to develop new state of the art laboratory facilities for animal and grassland research and a new animal metabolism facility at Moorepark. This new development will create the research capacity to undertake mission critical studies that will provide farmers, industry and policy makers with new solutions to the challenges posed.”

Source: Teagasc

The author: Ryan Harmon