Government allocates €9 million for new Wexford centre to research agricultural sustainability

A new National Agricultural Sustainability Research and Innovation Centre (NASRIC) is to be established at Teagasc in Johnstown Castle.

uring a visit to Co Wexford, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue announced that his department has allocated funding of €9 million to immediately commence construction of the centre.

The new facility will expand and enhance current research and innovation activities at the Teagasc Environment Research centre in Johnstown Castle.

 “The Government is committed to assisting Irish agriculture adapt to the numerous challenges facing farmers and agriculture and I’m delighted to announce this major investment in new research facilities to explore future technical solutions to enable the sector enhance its environmental sustainability,” said Minister McConalogue who turned the first sod on the site of the project.

“The investment is a clear show of strength in my commitment to agriculture research. I am convinced that as we face into a decade of change for our great sector that the cornerstone of our development will be cutting edge research.

“This, in turn, will provide farmers will all the tools, analysis and information to make informed decisions for their own businesses. Teagasc continues to play a leading role in the area and I commend them for their pioneering and innovative work.”

The centre will focus on the development, testing and implementation of innovative technologies to facilitate farmers to combine economic and environmental sustainability.

NASRIC will provide practical integrated solutions for farmers and other stakeholders to improve soil health, restore and protect biodiversity, improve water quality, reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and ammonia and enhance soil carbon sequestration.

Director of Teagasc Professor Frank O’Mara said: “The centre will provide technical support to policy makers and the wider agri-food and land-use sectors to achieve sustainability targets.

“It will accommodate up to 85 staff, consisting of research scientists, technical and support staff, to undertake the research necessary to underpin the sustainability of the sector.“

The laboratories are being equipped with cutting edge instrumentation across the areas of soil, crop, water and gaseous emissions. The research programme utilises a range of state of the art field facilities including dairy, beef, forestry and agro-forestry research trials and component facilities including long term soil fertility experiments, the national lysimeter platform and climate change control rooms.

Research is carried out at larger scales via the Agricultural Catchments Programme, the National Soil Carbon Observatory and the national soil archive and database which are needed to upscale research.

The investment will establish world-class laboratories to house current analytical research facilities and  facilitate the expansion of the Teagasc environment research programme to support national commitments  to increase the sustainability of agricultural systems.

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