THE number of applicants for the Dairy Business degree programme, run by University College Dublin and Teagasc, has almost doubled this year, it was disclosed yesterday.
Professor Maurice Boland, UCD College of Life Sciences, said 178 applicants have been received, a rise of 82% on 2009, the first year of the new programme.
He said the new programme, developed in consultation with the industry and farming organisations, combines academic and technical training with business and project management skills.
This was one of the recommendations in the recently published Food Harvest 2020 report.
Prof Boland is one of a top-level panel which will examine how the report’s recommendations can be turned into reality at the Agricultural Science Association (ASA) conference in Tullow, Co Carlow, on September 10.
In relation to research for the agri-food sector, he said UCD supports the report’s proposal for greater input from industry into the design and structure of research programmes.
Prof Boland said the impact on greenhouse gas emissions of the proposal to increase milk output by 50% poses major challenges for scientists.
“Global food demand is going to rise. It is better that the increased production to meet this demand comes from a country like Ireland with low emissions per unit of output as opposed to shifting to areas where forests have to be cleared for pastures,” he said.
Other Food Harvest 2020 panel members at the ASA conference will be Jim Bergin, chief executive Glanbia Ingredients; Richard Booth, Laois beef farmer, Bord Bia chairman, Dan Browne, Moorepark research scientist, Padraig French, and Aidan O’Driscoll, Assistant Secretary General, Department of Agriculture.
ASA President Frank O’Mara said the conference will also feature a debate on CAP reform, with George Lyon, chairman of the influential European Parliament Agriculture Committee as the keynote speaker.
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