DR FRANK O’MARA says attracting young people to careers in Irish agriculture is a widespread problem at every level of the industry — farm workers, managers and at the science level.
Teagasc has several programs reaching into secondary schools and the wider community to make people aware of career opportunities in farming.
“Especially important is to get rid of the image of dairy farming as a life of drudgery, long hours and loneliness.
“Sure the dairy industry can be that and … a lot of work, but if you are organised and plan things it can also be a very rewarding career.”
Teagasc will soon launch a program aimed at attracting young people into dairying.
Dr O’Mara said Ireland’s emphasis remains on training -- practical farm courses or university degrees — in which students spend time in the field, on local farms and sometimes on New Zealand farms.
“This is because of the similarity of the farming systems, the scale people get to see in NZ, and it’s a lovely part of the world.”