• A Study of Communication Methods for Teagasc to Engage with Agricultural College Graduates from Graduation to Farm Ownership

      Kelly, John W. (2015-10)
      The overall aim of this study was to successfully develop a useful method for Teagasc advisors to engage and keep in contact with agricultural college graduates. Graduates from Ballyhaise Agricultural College were surveyed in order to identify if they wanted future contact with Teagasc and if so what methods they would like to use. In addition existing contact between students and a Teagasc advisor was evaluated. A number of international extension and education organisations were contacted to investigate if they were using any methods to retain contact with their graduates. The early phase of the study formulated ideas for the development of a number of innovative methods for Teagasc to retain contact with graduates; these included the use of the social media website Facebook, publication of an agricultural college newsletter and SMS text alert services to graduates. The key findings from the study were that graduates want to keep in contact with Teagasc and due to the good experience they had in agricultural college they would like to receive regular information and participate in Teagasc discussion groups. They also would like to have regular contact with an advisor while in college. Existing students found the introduction to an advisor via a farm walk and guest lecture to be very beneficial. Social media was found to be the most engaging and interactive method of contact with graduates. The Ballyhaise Agricultural College newsletter was found to be an excellent source of technical information and SMS text messaging was the most effective method of communicating short messages. The study recommends that Teagasc implement these methods on a national basis across its agricultural colleges and local advisory offices