In 2003, the points required for entry to agricultural science in UCD were 310.
Ten years later, it’s 455.
The points required for entry to UCD’s agricultural science course this year increased by 10 points, compared to 2012.
Points for agricultural science courses at Tralee IT and Waterford IT also rose, by five and 30 points, respectively.
Cork Institute of Technology’s agriculture course entry points rose by 5, to 335.
Agriculture at Dundalk IT saw a sharp increase of 40 points, to 365.
Students are not just taking an interest in producing food, but also what is in it, and issues like food safety.
This interest has led to points increases for entry into food science and nutrition courses, with points for food science courses at both UCC and UCD up on last year.
This year, food science at UCC requires 440 points for entry, up 35 compared to 2012, while food science at UCD requires 470 points for entry, up 15 from last year.
The increase in demand for places on agriculture courses is predominantly driven by advice from guidance counsellors and experts that agriculture has a bright future.
The agricultural science degree course includes such a wide range of subjects that students may see it as a basis for further study, or the chance to branch into arelated degree course.
A wide range of job opportunities for graduates, not all directly related to agriculture, is also an attraction leading students to view an agriculture degree as a kind of safety net.
Future farmers are also completing agricultural science degrees, seen as supplying all the knowledge required to efficiently run a farm.