Mayo County Council, in conjunction with its partners: Teagasc, the Department of Agriculture & Food, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Irish Farmers Association and the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association, which form the Mayo Agricultural Working Group and the Planning, Environment and Agriculture Strategic Policy Committee - have published a new strategy entitled: “A Sustainable Agricultural Strategy for Mayo”.
The strategy was produced to harness the energy, enthusiasm and ideas of the working group and involved many months of research, sectoral engagement, expert advice, peer review and environmental assessment. The purpose of the strategy is to set out a series of actions that will guide the sector to capitalise on its opportunities and overcome the barriers to developing this significant component of the Mayo economy.
The strategy highlights the contribution that agriculture makes to the Mayo economy: with some 13,500 people employed at farm level; farm income of €128 million; farm output at an estimated €250 million; and an estimated €500 million value to the Mayo’s economy.
The strategy aims are as follows: (1 ) Improve farm incomes in the long-term; (2 ) Maximise the value of all food produced; (3 ) Ensure farmers are encouraged to play a key role in the county’s future development; (4 ) Support continued investment in the sector and (5 ) Ensure sustainability from an environmental perspective.
The strategy sets out clear actions for the traditional sectors of beef, sheep and dairy together with the less developed areas of forestry, agri- tourism, renewable energy and high nature value farming.
Vivian Silke, regional manager of Teagasc stated: "Teagasc Mayo has worked closely with Mayo County Council through its active involvement attending regular meetings of the Mayo Agricultural Working Group and its agricultural advisors located in the four offices at Ballinrobe, Westport, Claremorris and Ballina are fully supportive of the “Sustainable Agricultural Strategy for Mayo."
Cllr Michael Smyth, Chair of the Mayo Agricultural Working Group, welcomed the publication of the strategy and in particular the acknowledgement of the contribution that the agricultural sector makes to the Mayo economy. Mr. Peter Hynes, chief executive of Mayo County Council thanked the Agriculture Working Group and the staff of the Environment, Climate Change and Agriculture Section led by Mr. Martin Keating S.E.O. for their work in preparing this strategy, the first of its kind nationally. He welcomed the alignment that the strategy brings to the objectives in Water Quality, Climate Action, Tourism and Renewable Energy for the county.
The strategy is available at www.mayococo.ie/en/Services/Environment/Farmers/FarmingPublications/ or by contacting [email protected].