Supporting farmers to adopt climate measures and new technology is a “contact sport”, according to Teagasc Signpost Programme communications and engagement specialist Siobhán Kavanagh.
“Farmers need to have the one-to-one to help them adopt the technologies,” she explained.
The Teagasc representative was asked about farmer buy-in to climate measures at the Moorepark 2023 dairy open day outside Fermoy, Co Cork this week.
Kavanagh admitted that she would be a “little bit concerned” that there probably is not enough of one-to-one support and advisery service provision, as a resource to support farmers while they adopt measures for greater sustainability.
“We have the new Signpost advisery programme and there are 21 advisers across the country. But is that enough? Maybe not.
“The other side of it is that we have 62 partners signed up to the Signpost programme across the industry. They’re another resource that we probably need to leverage more in terms of supporting farmers,” she suggested.
The Teagasc representative highlighted an example where, if a farmer is encouraged to adopt a sustainability measure, the wider industry must support them.
“If we message farmers and tell them they should use protected urea, when they come in to buy it they should be able to get it. So, it’s probably a combination maybe of additional advisery resources, but also better linkages with the partners to support the farmers,” she added.
Kavanagh also noted research has another component of the supports required to help farmers hit the farm sector’s climate goals.
“There’s the research component. There’s been no shortage of funding being made available. I’m not working in that, but I think there’s been adequate funding,” she said.