Salesian Agricultural College launched a proposed conversion of its drystock unit to organics on Thursday.
The college stated that the case for converting the beef and sheep side of Pallaskenry college was made in March and red clover silage swards were sown last month in preparation for organics.
Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture Pippa Hackett welcomed the proposed conversion to organics, saying that Salesian college has taken the lead on organics.
“I am delighted to see the college taking the lead and switching to organic farming for their drystock enterprises,” Minister Hackett said.
“There is a growing demand for more sustainable methods of farming and education has a key role in making agriculture more resilient in Ireland and protecting our farm families.”
The move “further embeds” the college’s commitment to sustainable farming and will open students in its organic module up to a practical experience of what they are studying, according to Salesian principal Derek O'Donoghue.
“We currently deliver the Level 5 organic farming module and now students will be able to see the practical application of organic farming methods on the college farm,” O’Donoghue stated.
“Working with the Teagasc organic team, the learnings from our organic drystock farm will be made available to the wider farming community.”
Teagasc’s head of knowledge transfer Dr Stan Lalor commented that the switch away from a conventional beef and sheep system will allow students to see the sustainability of organics.
All students will have something to learn from organics, Lalor suggested.
“Conversion of the drystock enterprise to an organic system offers Salesian Agricultural College the opportunity to offer their students with a learning experience that will demonstrate an environmentally, socially and financially sustainable farming system,” he said.
“The Salesian Agricultural College will lead the way among Irish colleges. There will be key learnings from this system of production that will be applicable to all students.”