Salesian Agricultural College proposed conversion of their beef and sheep farm to organic was officially launched at Pallaskenry in County Limerick. The organic conversion proposal was officially launched by Pippa Hackett, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Speaking at the college, Minister Hackett said, “Salesian College has a strong reputation as a provider of quality agricultural courses. I am delighted to see the college taking the lead and switching to organic farming for their drystock enterprises. There is a growing demand for more sustainable methods of farming and education has a key role in making agriculture more resilient in Ireland and protecting our farm families.”
Derek O’Donoghue, Principal Salesian Agricultural College added, “Salesian Agricultural College looks forward to operating an organic drystock farm which further embeds our commitment to sustainable farming methods. We currently deliver the Level 5 Organic Farming Module, and now students will be able to see the practical application of organic farming methods on the college farm. Working with the Teagasc Organic Team, the learnings from our organic drystock farm will be made available to the wider farming community.”
The government has a target of having 10,000 organic farms by 2030, so there will be an increasing population of young farmers that will require an agricultural education with a strong emphasis on organic farming.
Dr Stan Lalor, Director of Knowledge Transfer in Teagasc said, “conversion of the drystock enterprise to an organic system offers the College the opportunity to offer their students with a learning experiences that will demonstrate an environmentally, socially and financially sustainable farming system. The Salesian Agricultural College will lead the way among Irish colleges. There will be key learnings from this system of production that will be applicable to all students.”
The case for the conversion of the drystock enterprise was prepared in March of this year and the conversion process has already commenced with the sowing of red clover swards for silage taking place in April of this year.