Elaine Farrell has been elected the first woman president in the 66-year history of the Agricultural Science Association (ASA ). She takes over from Athenry-based Teagasc man Gerry Scully whose term of office ended at the association's national conference in Galway in mid-September.
The ASA, which was established in 1942, is the professional body for graduates in all areas of the agriculture and food industry and has a large membership in the west and midlands.
From a tillage farming background in Cork, Elaine Farrell has strong west of Ireland roots. Her family run the long-established grain merchants and agri-business store in Mountbellew.
A graduate in agricultural science from UCD, she has worked with the Irish Farmers Association (IFA ) for the past 15 years.
She has served as executive secretary to the association's sugar beet and forestry sections and is currently the IFA Oireachtas liaison executive with responsibility for developing and co-ordinating linkages with all areas of government and with opposition parties.
Following her election as the 59th president of the ASA, she said she was honoured to be the first woman to lead the association and looked forward to representing professionals in the agri-food sector at a time of new opportunity for farming and food.
"Fifteen years ago, women professionals in the agri-food sector were somewhat of a rarity. The gender balance has changed dramatically and the proportion of women involved across all areas of the industry continues to increase."
"Women now account for close on 50 per cent of all students pursuing degrees in agriculture and food science in UCD," she said.