Joe Corroon

National chairman, IASTA

Welcome to the 16th year of the Study Guides for Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science students. These guides have been written and compiled by your teachers, who are members of IASTA, the Agricultural Science Teachers’ Association in conjunction with Agri Aware and the Irish Farmers Journal.

The new Agricultural Science Specification is comprised of four strands (scientific practices, soils, crops and animals) and eight cross-cutting themes which permeate the strands. The cross-cutting themes are sustainability, environment, policies and economics, technology, breeding and genetics, food production, health and safety and nutrition. These were the subject of last year’s study guides.

IASTA was founded 35 years ago by a number of teachers who wished to share resources and ideas and assist each other in the teaching of agricultural science in second-level schools. Since then, the subject of agricultural science has blossomed, with approximately 8,000 students sitting the Leaving Cert exam each year. IASTA has also grown over the years and now has close to 600 teachers as members.

IASTA has evolved with the changing needs of our members and offers a range of events, seminars, webinars, workshops and meetings at local, regional and national level. Our national conference AgVenture went digital this year for the first time and had 244 attendees.

Apart from writing the Study Guides for Ag science students, IASTA members are also involved in the Angus calves competition in association with Angus Beef Producers Group and run a successful national quiz sponsored by Devenish.

IASTA also presents the Marty Barrett Award (in memory of the first IASTA chairman) annually to the student who achieves the highest mark in the Leaving Cert Agricultural Science paper. Special thanks to the State Examinations Commission who provide us with the name of the best student.

Over the last 12 months our collaboration with the Irish Farmers Journal and Agri Aware has grown and evolved, with the introduction of a few new initiatives. Last year the guide writers also recorded an “expert-talk” with one of the specialists in the Irish Farmers Journal. We also had five case study farmers which gave regular updates from their own farms. This year we are including a worksheet with each Study Guide.

All of these are available on the new Schools Hub on the Irish Farmers Journal website.

We in IASTA are passionate about our subject and agriculture in general. We know its importance in the everyday life of our country and further afield. We aim to develop and foster a similar passion and appreciation in our students.

Enjoy your time studying the subject!

Alan Jagoe

Chairman, Agri Aware

Agri Aware alongside the Irish Farmers Journal and IASTA is once again proud to provide study notes and educational resources for Agricultural Science Leaving Certificate students.

The Study Guides have been a fixture for students and teachers now for 16 years, with their importance as high as ever. There are many challenges ahead for those who will pursue agricultural careers.

The agricultural and agri-food sector is responsible for over 170,000 jobs across the country and is worth more than €13bn to the Irish economy annually. Our sector must be ever more resilient and efficient as the world’s demands on agriculture evolve.

The pandemic shone a light on the sector; food production never halted while our population was in lockdown and the country was fed. The importance of agriculture has rarely been so in focus and hopefully, that will continue to be the case.

I would like to thank the IASTA teachers who contribute content to these Study Guides and also thank the Irish Farmers Journal as they continue to support this important initiative.

Most importantly, to you the students and teachers, your support for this programme is greatly appreciated as we wish you the very best of luck for this upcoming academic year.

Justin McCarthy

Editor, Irish Farmers Journal

We are delighted to welcome back students and teachers for the 16th year of Agricultural Science study guides brought to you by the Irish Farmers Journal, IASTA and Agri Aware. The weekly study guides and additional resources that have been developed for this programme have proved an invaluable resource for students and teachers alike and we would like to thanks all IASTA members for their work in producing the weekly study guides and classroom videos throughout the school year. We encourage all students to actively engage with the weekly study guides, e-paper, new schools hub, dedicated Agricultural Science resources and videos each week, while also utilising full access to the Irish Farmers Journal website and app in order to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and news from the sector as they occur.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend both students and teachers for having the ability to adapt to the changes in their learning environment since COVID-19 entered all our lives. The past 18 months have been challenging for the whole world. However, I am a firm believer that for each challenge that presents itself, there’s an equal opportunity for progression and development.

Whilst the pandemic has caused all sorts of issues for schools over the past 18 months, we are keen to develop and enhance the schools programme for Agricultural Science students this year. However, given the high level of uncertainty around COVID-19 and varying school policies around the use of textbooks and paper in school, we’ve decided to migrate our Agricultural Science study guide programme to our digital platform from this year.

One thing we’ve learnt recently is that the world keeps on moving. One of the key factors in this decision is to ensure seamless delivery of our content each week, while also enabling us to supplement the high quality content in the weekly study guides with the vast range of digital resources we have available and have been received so well by students and teachers over the last two years.

This year’s programme has been enhanced further through the addition of a number of new resources, including: a new dictionary of essential agricultural science terms, with 246 new terms, a dedicated Schools Hub area within the Irish Farmers Journal website, weekly student worksheets based on the study guide content, animal specific data reports from our Tullamore demonstration farm, along with signposting of content related to the study guides within the Irish Farmers Journal each week.

These new resources will accompany the weekly study guides, case study videos and classroom videos that proved so successful last year and will combine to make this year’s offer essential for any fifth or sixth year student studying Agricultural Science.

Studying Agricultural Science is the first step into a wide ranging sector that can provide exciting career opportunities across a broad range of areas. On behalf of the team in the Irish Farmers Journal, I would like to wish students and teachers the very best for the year ahead.