Moorepark 2019 An Interview with the Teagasc National Open Day Organiser, Laurence Shalloo

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What does it take to run a national open day on the scale of Teagasc’s biennial dairy farming event? We speak to Moorepark 2019 event organiser Laurence Shalloo. 


Make sure to check the Business Achievers Events calendar for more upcoming business events this month. 


The Moorepark open day, run by the Agriculture and Food Development Authority, Teagasc, is an important opportunity for Ireland’s dairy industry to connect and learn. The most recent event took place on 3 July 2019 in Moorepark, Fermoy, County Cork.

Why does Teagasc run open days at Moorepark every two years?

“The biennial Moorepark open day is our key event to engage with the dairy industry.

“Successful dairy farming has become an extremely technical and scientific business. Dairy farmers invest a lot of money, time and emotion in their business, and it’s our mission to ensure that this investment yields maximum return in all aspects for the farmer and their families.

“Our mission for Moorepark 2019 was to bring all that attended up to speed on the technical information needed within their dairy business, as well as how to continue to grow sustainably.”


Recommended reading: The Future of Farming: Ailish Byrne, Head of Agriculture, Ulster Bank


Moorepark is a large-scale outdoor event – how long does it take to plan? What are the biggest challenges in planning an event of this scale?

“In reality we have started planning for Moorepark 2021 already. Essentially, the process starts with feedback from as many people as possible engaged in Moorepark 2019.

Laurence Shalloo speaking at Moorepark 2017.

“We assess what worked and what didn’t work and from there we plan to make the next event better. Our challenge is always to improve on our previous events.”

‘Growing sustainably’ was your theme for 2019 – how did the attendees respond to this?

“Extremely positively. Farmers are acutely aware of the challenges ahead in relation to the different policy constraints as well as farming within the natural environment.

“It is extremely important that all stakeholders in the industry work together to create a pathway that allows the industry to grow sustainably.

 

“Keeping the family farm at the centre of an industry that is ‘Growing sustainably’ can only be positive for Irish society, especially rural communities and rural economies”

Laurence Shalloo, organiser, Moorepark 2019

“Internationally, when we look at grass-based systems – Ireland’s only competitive advantage [in terms of dairy farming] – we can see that these systems have a huge advantage, whether you’re looking at food security and the production of human-edible protein or environmental impact. Yes, there are challenges and constraints, but an industry that works together to find solutions can address these challenges together.”

Moorepark 2019 was a great success – for Teagasc, what was the highlight of the day?

“I think that this can be split into three areas: first, the crowd that came – welcoming over 12,000 people hungry for information is extremely exciting and bodes well for the future.

“Second, the positivity of the crowd: yes, the industry has challenges in front of it and has dealt with challenges in the past 18 months, but the ‘can do’ attitude of all aspects of the industry suggests that these challenges can be overcome.

“Third, the profile and family nature of the crowd: this paints a picture of an extremely family-orientated industry that is built around the family farm. Keeping the family farm at the centre of an industry that is ‘Growing sustainably’ can only be positive for Irish society, especially rural communities and rural economies.”


Recommended reading: Agri-Food Series: Going Organic with Gordon McCoy of McCoy Organic Farm


 

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