Bord Bia and Teagasc are set to receive increased funding in the upcoming year, as announced in Budget 2024 on Tuesday, October 10. Minister of State Martin Heydon, who oversees new market development, farm safety, and research and development, confirmed that both agencies would see funding increases compared to the previous year. Teagasc, the agricultural and food development authority, will receive an allocation of €168 million, an increase of €10 million from last year’s budget. Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, will receive an additional €2 million, bringing its funding to €57 million.
Minister Heydon emphasized the importance of Teagasc’s funding in helping farmers meet climate and environmental targets. He stated, “Farmers cannot deliver on environmental sustainability unless they are economically sustainable, and I firmly believe that the answers to the challenges faced by agriculture around climate and environmental issues lie in science and innovation.”
In addition to Teagasc’s funding, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s research activities will receive an extra €2 million, increasing the department’s research budget to €22.45 million. Minister Heydon explained that this funding will drive innovation in agriculture, food, forestry, and the bio-economy sectors, positioning Irish agriculture as a leader in sustainable food production. He highlighted the significant breakthroughs achieved through department-funded research projects, such as multi-species swards and the selection of low-emitting livestock. The minister expressed the importance of Budget 2024 in maintaining momentum and ensuring resources for strong funding calls, partnerships with countries like New Zealand, and addressing challenges both in Ireland and globally.
Regarding Bord Bia’s increased funding, Minister Heydon stated, “Reducing the emissions profile of our food production and ensuring we are a leader in sustainable food systems is central to everything we want to achieve under Food Vision 2030, and will be the driver of increasing the value of our agri-food exports.” He also mentioned that efforts will continue to progress market access files in priority markets and grow the value of existing markets.
Minister Heydon also announced the allocation of €2.5 million to improve farmer safety, health, and well-being. This dedicated fund will be used to expand initiatives aimed at enhancing farm safety and wellness within the farming community. Additionally, Minister for Finance Michael McGrath confirmed the extension of accelerated capital allowances for farm safety equipment. This extension allows for capital allowances of 50% per year to be claimed over a two-year period, compared to the usual eight-year period at a rate of 12.5% per year.
Overall, the increased funding for Teagasc, Bord Bia, research activities, and farmer safety initiatives demonstrates the government’s commitment to supporting sustainable agriculture, innovation, and the well-being of farmers in Ireland.