Teagasc’s income was down by over €6m last year, its latest set of accounts shows.
The COVID-19 pandemic was blamed for much of the decline, with health and safety restrictions impacting the level of Teagasc activity.
“COVID-19 had a particularly negative impact on three income streams; externally funded research projects; commercial research project income; and fees for analysis,” the research and advisory body noted on Tuesday, when its annual report was published.
Knowledge Transfer income fell by €2.066m (down 9.75%), including a reduction in advisory services income of €2.103m.
Research income fell by €4.224m (down 11.3%) including a €3.391m drop in income from externally-funded research projects, and a drop of €683,000 in fees for analysis.
Nonetheless, Teagasc received state grant-in-aid for current operations of €132.916m and a further €11.457m in capital grants, up €2.5m and €6.1m respectively.
In 2020 Teagasc received €6m of an €8.8m capital grant for the National Food Innovation Hub at Moorepark.
Its income last year, excluding the net deferred funding for pensions, was €198m, on a par with 2019.
Teagasc’s total operational expenditure in 2020, excluding pensions, was €145m, down €4m on 2019.
Capital funding was allocated to projects including the National Food Innovation Hub at Moorepark, an ICT upgrade, Kildalton farmyard upgrade and some smaller projects.
Teagasc chair Liam Herlihy said that, in spite of the pandemic, Teagasc advisory staff exceeded their 2020 targets for client numbers, income, and consultations, albeit many of the latter were delivered by telephone or virtually.
Through the calendar year 2020, Teagasc held 201 Zoom webinars and 6,682 Zoom meetings, supporting farmer clients and other stakeholders.
Herlihy paid tribute to the response of Teagasc staff who embraced the challenge of delivering entire programmes in advisory and education through online platforms.
“A special tribute is also due to our farm staff and those that work in our labs who had to attend their place of work throughout the entire period,” Herlihy said on Tuesday.
Teagasc director Gerry Boyle’s remuneration last year was €167,000, not including retirement benefits.
In all there were four employees paid between €160,000 and €169,999 at Teagasc last year, including salary, overtime and allowances.
Some 66 employees in all were paid between €100,000 and €169,999, including salary, overtime and allowances.
Teagasc employed 1,313 on payroll last year, up from 1,270 in 2019.