A farmer-funded R&D organisation, established in 1997, has helped to deliver research worth over £170 million to Northern Ireland’s ruminant livestock sector …from less than £8 million of levy payments.
Speaking at an event in Belfast to mark the twentieth anniversary of AgriSearch, its chairman, Michael Bell, described this achievement as a substantial return on investment for Northern Ireland’s ruminant sector, and a tremendous innovation dividend.
“In its first 20 years AgriSearch has committed £7.7 million of farmer levy funds towards 145 projects, with a total cost of £35 million. Based on a conservative 5 to 10% uptake rate, the value of this research to the Northern Ireland ruminant livestock sector is estimated to be at least £170 million. By any standards this is excellent value for money”, he said.
“But AgriSearch’s 20th anniversary is less about looking back than about looking to the future and deciding how AgriSearch can best serve the needs of ruminant livestock farmers. We recognise that these are rapidly changing times for the agri-food sector. Many new challenges and opportunities for the entire food supply chain will emerge.
“AgriSearch has produced a publication to mark its anniversary asking experts in the agri-food sector to set out what twenty years of co-funded research has achieved and how our levy payers can rise to the challenge of rapidly changing times.
“The “Making a Difference for Generations” booklet covers a wide variety of topics from maximising output from forage to environmental sustainability, and from volatility and big data to the future of food.
AgriSearch has commissioned this publication to inform farmers and the wider industry about the challenges and opportunities facing our industry and how modern science and innovation can address many of these challenges. We also hope it will stimulate debate and feedback on how AgriSearch can best meet the needs of its farmer levy payers over the next 20 years.”
Concluding Michael Bell said,
“AgriSearch is a small organisation with big ambitions for our industry. Only by working as a catalyst with our research partners, our enthusiastic team of farmer co-researchers, the agri-food industry and government can we hope to achieve our aim. That remains – to make the Northern Ireland ruminant livestock sector more competitive, profitable and sustainable”.