Support for farmers in Cork East to take positive actions for climate

The Signpost Advisory Programme was launched by Teagasc in the Cork East Advisory Region, today 14th July, on the farm of Joe and Olivia Morrissey, Knockanemorney, Rostellan, Midleton. Pictured (l-rt): Alan Jagoe, IFA National Dairy Committee, Brendan Smiddy, Signpost Advisor, David Stanton T.D., hosts Joe and Olivia Morrissey, Tom Curran, Teagasc Head of Advisory Services, Senator Tim Lombard and Liz Duffy, Signpost Advisor. (Picture O'Gorman Photography)

On 14th July the Signpost Advisory Programme was launched by Teagasc in the Cork East Advisory Region. This new advisory programme will complement existing advisory services and programmes already being provided to farmers in the region. The programme is designed to support and enable farmers to farm more sustainably with an emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their individual farms, thus contributing to the overall national effort by the agricultural and food sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030. 

The programme will be an extension to the existing Signpost (Farmers for Climate Action) Programme that has established a network of more than 120 demonstration farms around the country, including 12 in the Cork East region, in collaboration with 65 industry partners. The Signpost Advisory Programme will add significantly to this programme by providing individual farmers greater access to support and tools to help them to adopt the appropriate practices and technologies on their farms that will impact on the emissions from their farm.

This is a free advisory service and available to all farmers across all enterprises. The overall aim of the programme is to give all farmers the confidence to adopt new and existing technologies and production systems that will allow them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining and improving farm profitability.

The programme will utilise an exciting new sustainability digital platform (to be known as AgNav), being developed collaboratively by Teagasc, ICBF and Bord Bia. This new AgNav platform will allow farmers to “Know My Number” by calculating and assessing the sources of emissions on their individual farms. The AgNav platform will also provide a way of comparing the impacts of different technology and farm practice options on reducing these emissions and for a farm to “Make My Plan” by selecting actions that can be implemented on the farm in the future that will reduce emissions.

Speaking at the launch, Tom Curran, Head of Advisory said “The Signpost Advisory Programme is an exciting initiative aimed at tackling the critical challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Through personalized support and tools and working with our advisors this program empowers farmers in Cork East to adopt sustainable practices and technologies. Together, we can build a more sustainable agricultural sector while ensuring the continued profitability and success of our farming community.”

Joe Morrissey from Rostellan is one of the Signpost Programme Demonstration farms in the Cork East region. He is one of the farmers already seeing the benefits of adopting new practices that are positive for climate and sustainability. Joe has been a Signpost Farm on the Teagasc/Dairygold Joint Programme for the last numbers of years and is a strong advocate for the key technologies of LESS and Protected Urea. Coupled with this he has been able to reduce his fertiliser N use by the encorporation of white clover on his grazing swards and red clover on a silage block. He has reduced his farm emissions by over 14% so far while also seeing a financial benefit. 

Two Signpost advisors have been appointed in the Teagasc Cork East region to directly support this new programme. Both bring a wealth of experience to their new roles. Brendan Smiddy, a seasoned Dairy Advisor at Teagasc, brings over 30 years of experience in agricultural advisory roles. Liz Duffy has over 20 years of experience at Teagasc, she currently serves as a Dairy Advisor in Midleton, Co. Cork. They have stressed the importance of getting signed up for the programme. To sign up for the Signpost Advisory Programme contact online or your local Teagasc advisor or advisory office.