TEAGASC, the agriculture and food development authority, made a loss of just under €11 million in 2009.
That compares with a deficit of just over €12m the previous year.
When cash balances of over €18.9m at the beginning of the year are included, the agency ended up with a surplus of €7.9m in the year to December 31, 2009.
State funding for the group fell by about €3m over the period, from €148.9m to €145.9m, while the income earned by the group from the range of services provided to farmers declined from €32.1m to €29.5m, reflecting the difficult trading environment endured by the sector for most of last year.
The accounts for 2009 also reveal that the group paid out €43m in pension payments to 1,482 former employees giving an average pension of about €30,000 per worker for the year.
Launching the annual report Teagasc boss Gerry Boyle, said the outlook for the sector has improved dramatically.
Teagasc said the move towards the end of milk quotas would present exciting opportunities for farmers and it expects numbers engaged in dairying to increase.
The group has set up a “greenfield dairy” project to demonstrate the workings of a dairy farm to those thinking about getting involved, Mr Boyle said
He warned the “moratorium” on recruitment was putting pressure on existing staff to increase their productivity considerably.
While reductions in staff were necessary he called for “flexibility” when replacing key researchers.
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