The primary objective of the Innovation and Development Unit is to seek to understand processes of economic, social, institutional and spatial change in contemporary rural Ireland. Utilising mixed methodological approaches, we produce research that underpins Teagasc’s role of supporting the development of sustainable rural communities.

Recent Submissions

  • A New Direction for the Payment of Milk: Technological and Seasonality Considerations in Multiple Component Milk Pricing of Milk (Liquid and Manufacturing) for a Diversifying Dairy Industry

    Breen, James; Wallace, Michael; Crosse, Seamus; O'Callaghan, Donal (Teagasc, 2007-01-01)
    The main objectives of this study were to compare a Multiple Component Pricing system with the current milk pricing practice in Ireland and to estimate the marginal values of the three main milk components (fat, protein and lactose) in the context of the Irish milk processing industry. A representative linear programming model of an average Irish milk processor was developed in order to determine the marginal values of the milk components and to compare the value of milk under the Multiple Component Pricing system with the value under the current milk pricing practice. This study also examined the effect of product mix, milk supply and milk composition on the marginal value of the milk components.
  • Identification Of Environmental Variables For Use In Monitoring For The Evaluation Of The Rural Environment Protection Scheme

    Finn, John A.; Kavanagh, B.; Flynn, M.; Environmental Protection Agency; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 2001-EEA/DS10-M2 (Teagasc, 2005-04-01)
    The aim of this study was to identify and select quantitative environmental attributes for a monitoring programme that may be integrated into an environmental evaluation of Ireland’s agri-environmental scheme. This was achieved primarily by reviewing a range of agri-environmental indicators and suggesting indicators that would be appropriate for monitoring the REPS. The study conducted a desk review to collate information on current best practice in monitoring for environmental quality. A Project Group (comprising representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], Department of Agriculture and Food [DAF], Teagasc, and the project supervisors) advised on the ongoing development of the project. There was a consultation process with national experts, and with a selection of stakeholder organisations with an interest in monitoring the environmental impact of the REPS.
  • European Network of Agr & Rural Policy Research (Enarpri)

    Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin (Teagasc, 2006-12-31)
    The economic impact of trade policy reform receives less attention than the impact of trade policy on the environment. In part this may be due to the secondary importance attributed to environmental issues when economic consequences take centre stage. However, another consideration may be the difficulties of bringing together models which examine the economic impact of trade policy reform and models which can provide measures of environmental indicators. This study combines a partial equilibrium economic commodity model with a model for the estimation of agricultural input usage and GHG emissions. The paper examines one aspect of the relationship between trade policy and the environment, namely that between agricultural trade policy reform and indicators relating to emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) from agriculture. The paper examines the impact of agricultural production levels and production practices on the level of GHG emissions from agriculture in Ireland under a Baseline of the recent reform of EU agricultural policy and an alternate scenario where trade policy reforms resulting from a future World Trade Organisation Doha Development Round agreement to reveal the extent to which there are significant environmental impacts which should be considered in addition to the conventional economic considerations.
  • Policy Analysis for the Irish Agricultural Sector: The impact of a WTO Agreement on the Irish Agricultural Sector

    Donnellan, Trevor (Teagasc, 2007-01-01)
    Using dynamically recursive partial equilibrium models of Irish, EU and World agricultural commodity markets, research undertaken under projects 5158, 5159 and 5160 formed the basis of the empirically based policy analysis that the FAPRI-Ireland aggregate sector modelling team, based at Rural Economy Research Centre (RERC), has provided to Irish and EU agricultural policy makers. Under the three projects (5158, 5159 and 5160), which began in January 2003, numerous analyses of CAP reform proposals and agreements were undertaken. The full details of all of the analysis conducted are given below and are available from the FAPRI-Ireland website In this end of project report the most recent analysis, relating to the possible impact of the still on going Doha Round of WTO negotiations is presented relative to a Baseline under which current agricultural and trade policy is assumed to continue unchanged over a ten year horizon (2006 to 2015).
  • Presentations from the All Island Farm Safety Conference

    Gracey, Kenny; Meredith, David; McNamara, John; Dalton, Marie; Murray, Finian; Earley, Bernadette; Prendiville, Daniel J; Mazurek, Mickael; McNamara, John; Kennedy, Michael; Downey, Malcolm; Lundqvist, Peter (Teagasc, 2008-06-18)
    An All Island Farm Safety Conference took place on Wednesday, 18 June 2008 at the Hillgrove Hotel, Old Armagh Road, Monaghan. The presentations from this conference will be of interest to farmers, agricultural contractors, and anyone with an interest in safety and health in agriculture. The presentations from this conference will be of interest to farmers, agricultural contractors, and anyone with an interest in safety and health in agriculture. Each of the talk titles below is a link to the Microsoft PowerPoint presentation in PDF format
  • Barriers to Change: a Sociological study of Rural Development in Ireland

    Macken-Walsh, Aine; ICERTS Marine Beaufort Marine Award (Teagasc, 2009-06-01)
    Teagasc’s Rural Economy Research Centre (RERC) and Rural Development Advisory Unit initiated a research project in 2006 to investigate the ‘Barriers to Change’ experienced by farmers and fishers in adapting to challenges arising from a changed rural development mandate. Economic models developed by the organisation predicted farmers’ exodus over time from nonviable farming enterprises and in response to shifts towards postproductivist policies. A significant proportion of farmers, however, are continuing with what are officially categorised as nonviable farms and are slow to become involved in economic activities in line with the contemporary rural development agenda. In this light, the ‘Barriers to Change’ project was designed to explore the sociocultural inhibitors to farmers’ engagement. The project also incorporated a casestudy analysis of a fishing community whose members are experiencing similar ‘barriers’.
  • Work-related musculoskeletal disorders among Irish farm operators

    Osborne, Aoife; Blake, Catherine; Meredith, David; Kinsella, Anne; Phelan, James; McNamara, John; Cunningham, Caitriona; Health and Safety Authority, Ireland; Teagasc (Wiley Periodicals Inc., 2012-07-10)
    Background- To establish prevalence, risk factors and impact of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) among farmers in Ireland. Methods- In summer 2009, a questionnaire was appended to the Teagasc (Irish Agricultural and Food Development Authority) National Farm Survey (n=1110) to obtain data on the prevalence, risk factors and impact of WMSDs amongst farm operators in Ireland. Data were collected by trained recorders and analyzed using chi-square tests, t-tests, Mann-Whitney tests and binary logistic regression. Results- The prevalence of WMSDs in the previous year was 9.4% (n=103), with the most commonly affected body region being the low back 31% (n=32). Nearly 60% (n=57) of farmers reported missing at least a full day’s work as a consequence of their WMSD. Personal factors evaluated using bivariate regression analysis, were found not to influence whether or not a farmer experienced a WMSD. However, work-related factors such as larger European Size Units (ESUs) (OR=1.007, CI=1.002-1.012), greater number of hectares farmed (OR=2.50, CI=1.208-4.920), higher income (OR=1.859, CI=1.088-3.177), dairy enterprise (OR=1.734, CI=1.081-2.781), and working on a fulltime farm (OR=2.156, CI=1.399-3.321) increased the likelihood of experiencing a WMSD. The variable ‘fulltime farm’ which was associated with a higher labour unit requirement to operate the farm, was the only factor found to independently predict WMSDs in the multivariate regression analyses. Conclusions- This study suggests that the prevalence of WMSDs can be reduced by the application of improved farm management practices. A more detailed examination of the risk factors associated with WMSDs is required to establish causality and hence, effective interventions.
  • Implementation of the EU Nitrates Directive in the Republic of Ireland — A view from the farm

    Buckley, Cathal; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Elsevier, 2012-06)
    This paper employs Q methodology to investigate farmer opinions of the operation of the EU Nitrates Directive regulations after the first 4 year National Action Programme phase and explores the level of acceptance and refutation of measures from the view of farmers own knowledge and experience of land stewardship. Results indicate 4 main opinion groups. A “Constrained Productionists”group remain unconvinced about the appropriateness of certain measures from a farm management, environmental and water quality perspective. A second group “Concerned Practitioners” share some of these concerned but are generally more positive regarding other farm management and environmental benefits accruing from the regulations. A third group, “Benefit Accepters”, indicated quite an environmentalist position and are generally very positive towards regulation implementation and associated environmental and farm management benefits. The final group “Regulation Unaffected” have some concerns but are mostly unaffected by the regulations. Results suggest there is a growing acceptance among some farmers of environmental benefits accruing from the regulation but scepticism remains around the validity of certain measures, especially, in the area of temporal farm practices.
  • Supply of an ecosystem service—Farmers’ willingness to adopt riparian buffer zones in agricultural catchments

    Buckley, Cathal; Hynes, Stephen; Mechan, Sarah; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Elsevier, 2012-12)
    In the European Union, mitigation measures to abate diffuse pollution from agricultural land are implemented under the direction of the EU Nitrates and Water Framework Directives. As these measures are implemented in national policies, a review process will look at the efficacy of the measures with a view to recommending further measures as necessary and following scientific and stakeholder consultation. Riparian buffer zones, beyond those zones used as mandatory set back distances for fertiliser and organic manure spreading, have been used as filters in some countries to attenuate nutrient rich runoff and may be proposed as supplementary measures elsewhere. Notwithstanding the ongoing research on the physio-chemical efficiency of riparian buffer zones, this study examined the willingness of farmers to adopt such features on agricultural land. The sample size was 247 farmers in 12 catchments (approximately 4-12km2) in the Republic of Ireland. The survey was based on a proposal to install a 10 metre deep riparian buffer zone on a five year scheme and the analysis was based on principal components analysis, contingent valuation methodology and a Generalized Tobit Interval model. Results from this analysis indicated that famers’ willingness to supply a riparian buffer zone depended on a mix of economic, attitudinal and farm structural factors. A total of 53% of the sample indicated a negative preference for provision. Principle constraints to adoption include interference with production, nuisance effects and loss of production in small field systems. Of those willing to engage with supply, the mean willingness to accept based cost of provision for a 10 metre riparian buffer zone was estimated to be €1513 ha-1 per annum equivalent to €1.51 per linear metre of riparian area.
  • Walking in the Irish countryside – Landowner preferences and attitudes to improved public access provision

    Buckley, Cathal; Hynes, Stephen; van Rensburg, Tom M.; Doherty, Edel; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Taylor & Francis, 2009-11-18)
    This paper explores the attitudes of landowners across Ireland to the wider provision of public access for recreational walking using a multinomial logit model. The study also investigates the level of compensation required to improve the supply of this public good. Results indicate that 51% of landowners are not willing to provide access (non providers), 21% are willing to provide access free of charge (free providers) and 28% seek compensation (willing providers). Our findings indicate that participation by landowners in a proposed public access scheme is influenced by landowners’ experience with walkers, farm type, farm insurance costs, household demographics, regional variations, opportunity cost of land and participation in other agri-environment schemes. Mean willingness to accept for landowners willing to facilitate improved public access for walking was found to be €0.27 per metre of walkway.
  • Public access for walking in the Irish countryside – Can supply be improved?

    Buckley, Cathal; Hynes, Stephen; van Rensburg, Tom M.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (School of Biology and Environmental Science at University College Dublin in association with Teagasc, 2008-06-30)
    Public access to the Irish countryside for walking and recreation generally is a contentious issue. Increased affluence, mobility and changing values have brought about increased demands with respect to recreation in the countryside. There is also a greater emphasis on consumption demands for goods and services in rural areas. However, provision of a walking product has not been without problems in Ireland. This paper focuses on how public access provision for recreational walking might be enhanced by exploring the situation and precedent in a cross section of European and other developed nations and by examining the concerns of landowners especially with regard to public liability. Supply side factors affecting public access provision are examined in an economic context and a discussion is offered on how the supply might be improved. In the absence of compulsion through legislation, which seems unlikely in an Irish context, this paper contends that the supply of public access is dependent on factors such as cost of provision, potential monetary incentives and landowner preferences. Finally, a change to the Occupiers Liability Act to a definitive enter at your own risk situation would help dissipate liability concerns.
  • Recreational demand for farm commonage in Ireland: A contingent valuation assessment

    Buckley, Cathal; van Rensburg, Tom M.; Hynes, Stephen; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Elsevier Inc., 2009-07)
    This paper measures willingness to pay (WTP) for public access and trail improvements on commonage farmland for recreational walking in upland and lowland areas of Connemara region in the West of Ireland using the Contingent Valuation Method (CVM). Common to both upland and lowland commonage sites was the much higher ranking for infrastructural features by those WTP for scenario implementation compared to those preferring the status quo. Results for those expressing a positive WTP reveal a median willingness to pay (MWTP) for formal access with improved trail infrastructure of €12.22 for the lowlands compared with €9.08 for the uplands.
  • Improving Public Access to the Irish Countryside for Walking – Investigation of Supply and Demand Side Factors

    Buckley, Cathal; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (2009-07-01)
    Increased interest and demand for land based recreational amenities has seen the rise of conflict between landowners and recreationalists (particularly walkers) in the Republic of Ireland. A right of access to the countryside for recreation prevalent across other developed nations does not apply. Stakeholders have tabled various proposals to address this situation ranging from a right to roam across the countryside to a compensation payment to landowners for recreational access. Whilst policy makers are aware of the economic opportunities associated with open-air outdoor recreation activities, rational public decision making requires that economic benefits and costs should be clearly identified and valued to justify any policy intervention. To-date no such evaluation has been undertaken. This thesis explores supply and demand side factors that influence public access provision to the Irish countryside for recreational walking. Firstly, contingent valuation was used to measure the willingness to pay of consumers for improved public access and trail improvements on commonage farmland based on two case study sites in the Connemara region. Secondly, a national representative survey was used to explore the attitudes of landowners across the Republic of Ireland to the wider provision of public access for recreational walking on farmland, including the potential opportunity costs to agriculture as well as the level of compensation demanded by landowners. This thesis argues that based on derived welfare estimates there is significant scope for policy interventions to improve public access to the countryside in the Republic of Ireland.