Ag Science students get a taste of farm life at Teagasc Research Centre

Molly Harrison, Florence Viard and Elisa Arnaud from Teagasc Moorepark with Anne Lee and Miriam Hegarty from Mount Mercy, Cork and Eilis Greene, Programme & Events Manager, Agri Aware at Farm Walk & Talk.

The stunning grounds of Teagasc Research Centre at Moorepark was the latest port of call on the Agri Aware Farm Walk & Talk series, as Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science students from across Cork, Kerry and Tipperary assembled for the latest in the Agri Aware series.

Farm Walk and Talk is a longstanding collaboration between Agri Aware, Teagasc, UCD, the Irish Farmers Journal, and I.A.S.T.A. Over 200 senior-cycle students made their way around the talks and exhibits that cover the new Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science cross-cutting themes. The talks were given by Teagasc lecturers and some local agribusinesses, including Keepak.

In 2022, Farm Walk and Talk returned to in-person events after the Covid-19 pandemic, with record numbers attending the events, students and teachers alike eager to engage with the subject in a hands-on manner. As a result, in 2023, Agri Aware has extended the series of events to meet the high demand, with 13 Farm Walk and Talk events taking place in 10 locations across Ireland in 2023.

The Farm Walk and Talk series allows students to connect with the subject in a new way and keeps their passion for the subject alive amid concerns voiced by many in the Agriculture sector on the difficulty of the new Ag. Science curriculum, and the effect it is having on the uptake of the subject in schools. 


In 2022, only 5.8% of students achieved a H1 grade, compared to the second highest at 7.2% for English, making Ag. Science the most difficult subject to achieve a top-grade in. The recent reform of the agricultural science curriculum, originally welcomed, has brought with it a concern for the sustainability of the subject and the agri-food sector as a whole.

IASTA teachers have noticed the reduced subject uptake within schools, with the number of pupils sitting the Leaving Certificate exam dropping by 12% between 2021-2022. If this downward trend continues, this may impact the number of pupils applying for agricultural science higher education courses and those entering related careers.

Emer Kennedy, Senior Research Officer at Teagasc Moorepark, was delighted to have the secondary school students return locally to the Research Centre.

“We are really looking forward to welcoming almost 300 secondary school students to Teagasc Moorepark for the AgriAware Farm Walk and Talk event, they will get a great insight into the dairy and pig sectors in Ireland. It is a great opportunity for them to engage with PhD students and understand research currently being conducted into all aspects of sustainable production from the agricultural industry”.