Degree programmes will arm farmers with high-tech skills

David Tucker

Published 13/10/2015 | 00:00

At the launch of the Degree Programmes in Sustainable Farming and Agribusiness (from left) Anne Marie Guinan, Marketing and Communications Intern; Caroline Murphy, Head of Wexford Campus; Minister Paul Kehoe; Susan Willis, International Miss Macra 2015; and Mayor of Wexford Ger Carthy.
At the launch of the Degree Programmes in Sustainable Farming and Agribusiness (from left) Anne Marie Guinan, Marketing and Communications Intern; Caroline Murphy, Head of Wexford Campus; Minister Paul Kehoe; Susan Willis, International Miss Macra 2015; and Mayor of Wexford Ger Carthy.

Farmers armed with the most up-to-date skills in innovative farming technologies and entrepreneurship, in addition to scientific and agricultural knowledge, will be the result of two new degree programmes launched in Wexford by Carlow IT.

'Today's farmer needs not only the scientific and agricultural knowledge to compete in a very competitive marketplace, but also significant business acumen and entrepreneurship skills,' said Dr Patricia Mulcahy, President of Institute of Technology Carlow, speaking at Friday's launch of the innovative programmes which was performed by Government Chief Whip and Minister of State at the Departments of An Taoiseach and Defence Paul Kehoe.

Among those attending the event were Director of Teagasc Professor Gerry Boyle and IFA President Mr Eddie Downey, as well as representatives of the IFA in the South East.

'IT Carlow has always been to the forefront in developing the skills and knowledge of entrepreneurs and these particular programmes build on this long tradition. We have a proven ability in helping businesses develop new products and services in multiple sectors from engineering to bioscience to ICT and design,' said Dr Mulcahy.

This ability is now being directed towards farming and agri-business. Graduates of these programmes will contribute to the success of Ireland's €24 billion farm and food production sector and the demands of the Irish food and agri-business industry.'

Minister Kehoe said, 'it is apparent that these programmes are looking to the future and towards a changing environment in which the farmer will need to be as competent in operating a GPS system, or drawing up a business plan as he or she will be competent in animal or crop husbandry.

'Farming, probably more than most other sectors of our economy, is vigorously competing in a globalised market which is very finely tuned to the business imperatives of the agri-food sector.'

Minister Kehoe complimented Ms Caroline Murphy, Head of the Wexford Campus and the faculty of IT Carlow for bringing this important initiative to fruition in collaboration with the IFA and Teagasc.

The launch of the new programme comes just two days after it was revealed that Carlow IT has been given the go ahead to acquire a 35-acre site in Wexford town for the development of a new campus that will form the basis of a technological university in the South East which Minister Kehoe said was a key ambition of the government.

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