IFA President John Bryan said it is totally unacceptable that at a time of renewed confidence in agriculture, Teagasc are turning away up to 700 students, who are interested in farming, from securing an education in the industry.
Mr Bryan said Teagasc management must prioritise available resources towards education and ensure that those interested in taking up a career in farming are accommodated in agricultural colleges this year. If Teagasc does not have the capacity themselves they should contract out to other bodies to provide courses under Teagasc supervision.
The IFA President said the importance of agricultural education was identified in the Food Harvest 2020 report particularly by the development of commercial and management skills as a core part of Teagasc training courses. Turning down students who want to make a career from farming sends a totally wrong message to aspiring young farmers and will restrict the capacity to achieve these targets.
Mr Bryan said Teagasc must realise that the situation of a number of years ago where they had difficulties filling college places has dramatically changed and this must be urgently addressed by deploying resources to cater for all students who are applying for agricultural college courses this year.