Funded by FBD Trust and the Department of Agriculture, researchers, specialists and advisers will use the new centre to progress Ireland’s grassland, animal breeding and health, and farming systems.
Chairman of FBD Insurance for 20 years and editor of the Irish Farmers’ Journal for 37 years, O’Keeffe was a passionate advocate of research and education in farming. He died in 2013.
He was a driving force behind the creation some 40 years ago of FBD, whose significant investment has made the new Innovation Centre for Grassland and Dairying possible.
FBD chairman, Michael Berkery, said: “The Teagasc Moorepark research team, led by Dr Pat Dillon, were greatly admired by the late Paddy O’Keeffe. The new facilities were a fitting tribute to the late Paddy O’Keeffe’s fearless leadership and lifelong contribution to transforming Irish agriculture.”
The innovation centre will be used in the delivery of the Teagasc Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Programme, and in the delivery of the Teagasc education programme.
Teagasc chairman, Dr Noel Cawley, said: “Paddy was a passionate advocate of new knowledge and recognised the need for continuous improvement within the industry and the need to develop Ireland’s competitive advantage as grass-based milk producers.
“As we enter this new post quota era in milk production, and as we strive to increase our utilisation of grass in beef and sheep systems, this new Innovation Centre, the researchers working here and the young people educated here, will play an increasingly important role in developing Irish agriculture in the future.”
The formal opening of the new centre was attended by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas, and Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney.