Teagasc is to build a new €9m centre for research and innovation at Johnstown Castle in Wexford.

The National Agricultural Sustainability Research and Innovation Centre (NASRIC) “will provide practical integrated solutions to improve soil health, restore and protect biodiversity, improve water quality, reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and ammonia and enhance soil carbon sequestration”.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue described the development as “pivotal”. “Teagasc Johnstown Castle has been very important in driving sustainability research, the MACC was developed here. Low-emission slurry spreading and protected urea usage were researched and proven here,” he said. “With this €9m development, Teagasc will be at the forefront of research and innovation to equip farmers with the pathways to meeting our sectoral targets”.

Teagasc director Professor Frank O’Mara said: “The centre, employing up to 85 staff, will provide technical support to policymakers and the wider agri-food and land-use sector to achieve sustainability targets.”

Teagasc chair Liam Herlihy said: “Teagasc has a crucial role to play in dealing with the challenges that lie ahead in relation to the sustainability for Irish agriculture. The sectoral target is challenging but is within the parameters of achievability. The technologies Teagasc has already developed will help meet that challenge, and more technologies will come from this innovation centre. We must provide a future for young people in farming. That’s what is driving this development.”