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24 May 2022

Teagasc Kildalton ready to celebrate 50th anniversary open day

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Martin Heydon was in Kildalton to launch the open day

KILKENNY

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Martin Heydon; Professor Frank O’Mara, Teagasc Director; Dr AnneMarie Butler, Head of KT Education and staff

Kildalton College in South Kilkenny will hold a major open day on Saturday, June 25 this year.

Today, Wednesday 11 May, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Martin Heydon was in Kildalton to launch the open day and review the plans for the upcoming event. The Open Day is supported by FBD.

The College today is a modern facility providing, courses in Agriculture, Horticulture and Equine Studies. It has evolved and developed over the past 50 years, and visitors to the open day this summer will have the opportunity to travel through time in the decade rooms. Different rooms, representing each of the past five decades will display photos and articles from the college campus and enterprises showing how they have developed in the intervening period. 

As a former student of Kildalton College, Minister Heydon is well placed to reflect on the changes that have taken place over the years.

“People often speak about a transition that agriculture and farming must make as if it is something that will happen in a distant future," Minister Heydon said.

"However, the farming, horticulture and equine sectors are constantly evolving. The College here in Kildalton has adapted to these changes to ensure its courses are relevant to the new era, and equip current students, and the farmers of the future, with the knowledge and skill sets to prosper in the future. I wish Teagasc and Kildalton College continued success as they mark their 50 year contribution to Irish agricultural education.” 


Pictured at the launch were from (L to R): Professor Frank O’Mara, Teagasc Director; Dr AnneMarie Butler, Head of KT Education, National Advisory Teagasc; Martin Heydon, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Mr Michael Berkery, Chairman of FBD Trust

Teagasc Director, Professor Frank O Mara, said: “We are delighted to be joined today by some of our partners, who have worked with Teagasc over the years as we developed our education offering. The career options open to students who pass through the college today are radically different to those faced by the first students who entered Kildalton 50 years ago, and they have the opportunity to progress, achieve higher qualifications, and embrace the multiple opportunities for lifelong learning offered by Teagasc and its partners. The challenges facing those students are different, but equally exciting. I look forward to meeting some of the generations of students and their families that have studied at the college at our open day on 25th June.”

Chairman of FBD Trust, Michael Berkery said: “As Kildalton College celebrates the 50th anniversary of its foundation, we welcome the opportunity to recognise the immense contribution of the college which has been instrumental in educating, supporting and preparing generations of farmers over the last 50 years. As Ireland’s leading farm insurer, FBD are very proud to support Kildalton and the great work that they do for their students.  Congratulations to everybody who has been involved with Kildalton over the last 50 years and we wish the staff and students, past and present, every success in the future.”

Dr Anne Marie Butler, Head of Education in Teagasc said the delivery of education has changed dramatically over the last 50 years.

"Our course offerings are continuously evolving. Our teachers are successfully combining increased digital delivery with the traditional, practical, hands on training," she said.

"Earlier this year, Teagasc commenced a review of the Practical Learning Period, which involved discussions with students, host farmers, Teagasc staff and stakeholders. That review is near completion, and the adjustments to the PLP programme are being communicated to students and host farmers.

"Teagasc appreciates the contribution of our host farmers in delivering the PLP component of our programmes, and I want to reinforce our appreciation of all our host farmers who accommodate students on their farms and within their households.”

Tim Ashmore, Principal of Kildalton College invited all farmers and their families to visit Kildalton on June 25, and see the modern educational facilities and substantial agricultural, horticultural and equine enterprises on the campus.

“The facilities in the college have moved with the times. Just one of the original sheds remains in place since the founding of the college in 1971," he said.

"Visitors on June 25 will have an opportunity to see the current enterprises and reflect on some of the changes that have taken place in agriculture over the past 50 years.”

The Open Day is kindly supported by FBD, and will run from 11am to 4pm, to bring together students and staff, both past and present, to reflect on the changes and celebrate the achievements.

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