Dr Vanessa Woods has been appointed as director of communications with agri technology company Devenish — Beyond Nutrition.
US-headquartered, Devenish provides tailored nutritional solutions and specialist advice to Ireland’s pig, poultry, ruminant and pet sectors. The company has an office in Belfast, with key personnel operating throughout the island.
Dr Woods is leaving her role as CEO of Agri Aware, which she has held for the past five years, being the longest serving and first female CEO. Agri Aware is an agri-food educational body, a charitable trust funded by the Irish farming and agri-food industry.
Dr Woods developed networks for Agri Aware with key officials in the European Commission, and hosted two European agriculture commissioners in the Agri Aware and Dublin Zoo Family Farm, which has been transformed under her leadership. She comes from a beef and tillage farm outside Athboy in Co Meath and has great passion for farming.
She said: “I am hugely passionate about farming and our agri-food industry and I am really looking forward to joining the team at Devenish, a key patron of Agri Aware. The Devenish business spans right across the globe and they have bold ambitions for growth. I am excited to join this thriving and progressive company.
“It has been my pleasure and privilege to work with Agri Aware’s chairman, Richard Moeran and former chairman, Bernard Donohue. I have truly enjoyed my time with Agri Aware. My successor and the board will have my full support and the support of Devenish, to ensure a smooth transition.”
Dr Woods secured four consecutive bids for funding to the European Commission worth €1.7m. She also helped Agri Aware secure government approval to update the Agricultural Science syllabus for Leaving Certificate students after 40 years, having being appointed by the NCCA in a formal role for this purpose.
She was appointed as the first chair of examiners for the new GCSE in Agriculture and Land Use in Northern Ireland. She helped ensure the equine industry has also become an Agri Aware patron for the first time. Equine now forms a key part of the new draft Agricultural Science specification for Leaving Certificate students for the first time.
Agri Aware chair, Richard Moeran, said: “Vanessa’s departure from Agri Aware will be a loss for the organisation, she has headed up the independent trust for the past five years, winning four consecutive funding bids from Brussels to communicate the importance of CAP to the Irish consumer.”
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