The FBD Group is to invest €6 million towards the development of a new research centre for “sustainable animal and grassland research”.
The new centre, which will be based at Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, will aim to be “a key driver in supporting farmers to achieve their climate reduction targets”, according to Teagasc.
“The proposed centre will provide essential research infrastructure to support climate-related research, as well as facilitate research that can provide innovative solutions to improve the environmental sustainability of pasture-based systems, and improve the efficiency of Ireland’s ruminant sector,” it added.
According to Teagasc the next step is for it to now “engage in detailed planning of the new facility” and this will be subject to the “normal approvals process and controls for capital projects in the public sector”.
Details of the new centre were announced by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, today (Monday, December 4) who described it as a “very significant financial contribution” by the FBD Group.
Minister McConalogue said: “This new investment will improve agricultural research capacity, so vital to address key issues facing the agriculture sector, including strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient losses to water.
“As a food producing nation, I want to see Ireland achieve these environmental imperatives, while crucially maintaining agricultural output. Key to this will be a focus on improving competitiveness and developing a range of scientific solutions in support of productivity.
“I welcome Teagasc’s ambitions and look forward to the detailed plans being developed in the coming months.”
The €6 million investment in the new centre is being supported by contributions from FBD Holdings plc, FBD Trust CLG and Farmer Business Developments Plc.
Tómas Ó Midheach, chief executive of FBD Holdings Plc, said he believes the group’s support for the centre “will help to advance climate related research”.
“For us at FBD Insurance, we are delighted to be involved as we all have a role in tackling the climate imperatives of our time.
“The farming community is working hard to meet the 25% emissions reductions target by 2030.
“We believe that the research conducted at this facility by Teagasc has the potential to contribute to this reduction in a real and meaningful way,” Ó Midheach added.
Meanwhile Professor Frank O’Mara, Teagasc director, said the new facility will enable the organisation to “undertake research to address the great challenges facing agriculture today”.
He said this would “allow the mechanistic in-depth research that is urgently needed to develop new solutions that are suitable for widespread deployment on grass-based systems”.
Prof. O’Mara added: “The investment will be used to develop new state of the art laboratory facilities for animal and grassland research and a new animal metabolism facility at Moorepark.
“This new development will create the research capacity to undertake mission critical studies that will provide farmers, industry and policy makers with new solutions to the challenges posed.”
The new centre, when it is constructed, will be named after the late Padraig Walshe, who was a former chair of Farmer Business Developments plc and a past president of both COPA and the Irish Farmers’ Association.