The aim of the Teagasc Rural Economy and Development Programme is to help decision making by stakeholders of Teagasc through research and knowledge transfer activities.

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  • Irish dairy farmers’ engagement with animal health surveillance services: Factors influencing sample submission

    McFarland, Lauren; Macken-Walsh, Áine; Claydon, Grace; Casey, Mícheál; Douglass, Alexander; McGrath, Guy; McAloon, Conor G.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; RSF 17/S/230 (Science Direct, 2020-08-26)
    A high-quality animal health surveillance service is required to inform policy and decision-making in food-animal disease control, to substantiate claims regarding national animal health status and for the early detection of exotic or emerging diseases. In Ireland, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine provides partially subsidized testing of farm animal samples and postmortem examinations to the Irish agriculture sector (farmers) at 6 regional veterinary laboratories (RVL) throughout the country. Diagnoses and data from these submissions are recorded and reported monthly and annually to enable animal health monitoring and disease surveillance. In a passive surveillance model, both the veterinary practitioner and the farmer play a vital role in sample submission by determining which cases are sent to the laboratory for postmortem or diagnostic testing. This paper identified factors influencing Irish dairy farmers' decisions to submit carcasses to RVL. Behavioral determinants of the submission of samples where veterinary professionals are concerned has been studied previously; however, limited work has studied determinants among farmers. This study conducted qualitative analyses of decisions of Irish dairy farmers relevant to diagnostic sample submission to an RVL and to examine the herd-level characteristics of farmers that submitted cases to an RVL. The biographical narrative interpretive method was used to interview 5 case-study farmers who were classified nonsubmitters, medium, or high submitters to the postmortem service based on the proportion of on-farm mortalities submitted to the laboratory service in 2016. The data obtained from these interviews were supplemented and triangulated through dairy farmer focus groups. The data were thematically analyzed and described qualitatively. In addition, quantitative analysis was undertaken. Data for herds within the catchment area of a central RVL were extracted, and a multivariable logistic regression model was constructed to examine the relationship between herds from which carcasses were submitted to the laboratory and those from which none were submitted. Results from the analysis show that the farmer's veterinary practitioner was the primary influence on submission of carcasses to the laboratory. Similarly, the type of incident, logistical issues with transporting carcasses to the laboratory, influence of peers, presence of alternative private laboratories, and a fear of government involvement were key factors emerging from the case-study interview and focus group data. Herd size was identified in both the qualitative and quantitative analysis as a factor determining submission. In the logistic regression model, herd size and increased levels of expansion were positively correlated with the odds of submission, whereas distance from the laboratory was negatively associated with odds of submission. These results identify the main factors influencing the use of diagnostic services for surveillance of animal health, signaling how services may be made more attractive by policy makers to a potentially wider cohort of users.
  • 583 Evidence-based social learning for safety and health promotion among irish dairy farmers

    O'Connor, T; Meredith, D; Kinsella, J; McNamara, J (BMJ Journals, 2018-04-24)
    Introduction Farming is an occupation that incurs high rates of occupational injuries and illness, including fatalities. Internationally, legislative approaches to improve agricultural occupational safety and health (OSH) practices have been inconsistent in achieving those objectives. Many alternative initiatives to influence agricultural OSH practices have been developed, frequently emphasising information provision. In Ireland, evaluation of information provision approaches, such as classroom-based learning, has found that this is ineffective for improving agricultural OSH practices. However, peer-based learning using communities of practice (COPs), such as Teagasc dairy farmer discussion groups, presents a promising context for agricultural OSH promotion in Ireland. Research has established the efficacy of farmer discussion groups for promoting adoption of novel technologies and production practices. Little research has been undertaken to assess whether they are effective for promoting agricultural OSH practices. This paper describes the extent to which Teagasc dairy discussion groups engage with agricultural OSH, and identifies the characteristics associated with agricultural OSH engagement. The results are evaluated with respect to the existing literature regarding effective social learning for farming and OSH promotion, to assess the suitability of these COPs for agricultural OSH promotion. Methods Information about discussion group characteristics and engagement with OSH topics was collected using a survey of Teagasc dairy discussion group members, and a survey of Teagasc dairy discussion group facilitators. The statistical software R was used to assess variation in discussion group engagement with OSH, and the group characteristics statistically associated with that variation. Result Analysis of the results is ongoing and will be completed in September 2017. Discussion The findings of this study, including the evaluation framework developed from literature review, can contribute to effective agricultural OSH promotion in Ireland, and internationally. This is especially true for other countries with existing farmer COPs, such as farmer discussion groups in New Zealand and Wales.
  • Establishing nationally representative benchmarks of farm-gate nitrogen and phosphorus balances and use efficiencies on Irish farms to encourage improvements

    Thomas, I.A.; Buckley, C.; Kelly, E.; Dillon, E.; Lynch, J.; Moran, B.; Hennessy, T.; Murphy, P.N.C.; Environmental Protection Agency; 2015-SE-DS-7 (Elsevier BV, 2020-06)
    Agriculture faces considerable challenges of achieving more sustainable production that minimises nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) losses and meets international obligations for water quality and greenhouse gas emissions. This must involve reducing nutrient balance (NB) surpluses and increasing nutrient use efficiencies (NUEs), which could also improve farm profitability (a win-win). To set targets and motivate improvements in Ireland, nationally representative benchmarks were established for different farm categories (sector, soil group and production intensity). Annual farm-gate NBs (kg ha−1) and NUEs (%) for N and P were calculated for 1446 nationally representative farms from 2008 to 2015 using import and export data collected by the Teagasc National Farm Survey (part of the EU Farm Accountancy Data Network). Benchmarks for each category were established using quantile regression analysis and percentile rankings to identify farms with the lowest NB surplus per production intensity and highest gross margins (€ ha−1). Within all categories, large ranges in NBs and NUEs between benchmark farms and poorer performers show considerable room for nutrient management improvements. Results show that as agriculture intensifies, nutrient surpluses, use efficiencies and gross margins increase, but benchmark farms minimise surpluses to relatively low levels (i.e. are more sustainable). This is due to, per ha, lower fertiliser and feed imports, greater exports of agricultural products, and for dairy, sheep and suckler cattle, relatively high stocking rates. For the ambitious scenario of all non-benchmark farms reaching the optimal benchmark zone, moderate reductions in farm nutrient surpluses were found with great improvements in profitability, leading to a 31% and 9% decrease in N and P surplus nationally, predominantly from dairy and non-suckler cattle. The study also identifies excessive surpluses for each level of production intensity, which could be used by policy in setting upper limits to improve sustainability.
  • Risky (farm) business: Perceptions of economic risk in farm succession and inheritance

    Leonard, Brian; Farrell, Maura; Mahon, Marie; Kinsella, Anne; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Royal Dublin Society; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Elsevier BV, 2020-04)
    Highlights • Generational renewal is high on the political agenda for agriculture, with young farmers linked to positive outcomes. • There are limited policy incentives for older farmers to consider engaging in the farm succession and inheritance process. • Farmers perceive risks and uncertainties regarding the transfer process, and thus avoid handing over to their successors. • Taxation, retirement income, long term care cost, and marital breakdown are motivations for farmers to retain ownership. • Financial incentives related to generational renewal must aim to alleviate the level of risk perceived by farmers.
  • Can technology help achieve sustainable intensification? Evidence from milk recording on Irish dairy farms

    Balaine, Lorraine; Dillon, Emma J.; Läpple, Doris; Lynch, John; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; University of Oxford; 14/ 889; 205212/Z/16/Z (Elsevier BV, 2020-03)
    This article explores the potential of a farm technology to simultaneously improve farm efficiency and provide wider environmental and social benefits. Identifying these ‘win-win-win’ strategies and encouraging their widespread adoption is critical to achieve sustainable intensification. Using a nationally representative sample of 296 Irish dairy farms from 2015, propensity score matching is applied to measure the impact of milk recording on a broad set of farm sustainability indicators. The findings reveal that the technology enhances economic sustainability by increasing dairy gross margin and milk yield per cow. Furthermore, social sustainability is improved through a reduction in milk bulk tank somatic cell count (an indicator of animal health and welfare status). Conversely, milk recording (as it is currently implemented) does not impact farm environmental sustainability, represented by greenhouse gas emission efficiency. While the study shows that milk recording is a ‘win-win’ strategy, ways of improving current levels of utilisation are discussed so that milk recording achieves its ‘win-win-win’ potential in the future.
  • Teagasc-EPA Soils and Subsoils Mapping Project Final Report Vol. II Maps & Statistics

    green, stuart; Fealy, Reamonn; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government (2021-02-01)
    This report contains the maps and statistics for this project.
  • Farm health and safety adoption through engineering and behaviour change

    McNamara, J; Griffin, P; Phelan, J; Field, W.E.; Kinsella, J (2019)
    The agriculture sector is one of the most hazardous occupations worldwide. The EU farming population is predominantly self-employed, who are largely outside the scope of EU occupational safety and health (OSH) legislation. Utilising effective communications approaches to transmit clear messages is a possible way of motivating farmer OSH adoption. The Public Health Model (PHM) of accident causation conceptualises an accident as occurring due to multiple interacting physical and human factors while the Social-Ecologic Framework enhances the PHM by defining various levels of the social environment which are influential on persons’ OSH actions. A knowledge gap exists in how farmers conceptualise accident causation. The aim of this study is to report findings of a Score Card exercise conducted among Irish farmers (n = 1,151) to reveal knowledge on farmers’ conceptualisation of accident causation where farmers ranked in order of importance up to five causes of farm accidents. First ranked items related to ‘machinery/ vehicles’, ‘organisational’ and ‘livestock’ as accident causation factors (92%). Overall rankings for up to five ranked causes identified six causes: ‘machinery/ vehicles’, ‘organisational’, ‘livestock’, ‘slurry related’, ‘trips, falls, buildings-related’ and ‘electrical’ (96.5%). The study data indicated that farmers’ perceptions of accident causes were inaccurate when compared with objective fatal farm accident data. The study concluded that communicating accurate and contemporary OSH messages to farmers has potential to assist with farm accident prevention. Based on the multiple and interacting risk factors arising in agriculture it is suggested that more elaborate study of farm accident prevention is warranted.
  • AgriBenchmark: Benchmarking Sustainable Nutrient Management on Irish Farms

    Murphy, Paul N.C.; Thomas, Ian; Buckley, Cathal; Kelly, Edel; Dillon, Emma; Hennessy, Thia; Environmental Protection Agency (2020-10-14)
    AgriBenchmark explored the possibilities for benchmarking of nutrient management performance on Irish farms. Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS) data (2008–2015; 1446 farms) were used to characterise and explore the potential for improvement of farm nutrient management performance and resultant aspects of environmental and economic sustainability through the derivation of three key performance indicators (KPIs) at the farm-gate level: farm nutrient balance (kgha–1), nutrient use efficiency (NUE; %) and profitability (gross margin; €ha–1). In this report, the farm nutrient balance is defined as the farm-gate nutrient imports (fertiliser, feed, animals, etc.) minus the exports (animals, crops, wool and milk). A positive balance (surplus) is considered to represent a nutrient source pressure in terms of the risk of nutrient losses to the wider environment. The data and analyses in this report cover the main, more intensive agricultural systems in Ireland (excluding pig and poultry farms) and are representative of, on average, 61% of farms nationally and 76% of the total utilised agriculture area (UAA; excluding commonage).
  • Methodological Framework for Modelling the Impact of the Agriculture to Forestry Land Use Change at the Farm Level

    O'Donoghue, Cathal; Ryan, Mary; Environmental Protection Agency (2020-10-13)
    There is a growing literature on the use of microsimulation models for agriculture, forestry and land use change (Richardson et al., 2014). Much of this literature addresses issues related to productivity and incomes (O’Donoghue, 2014), however consistent with an increasing global focus on sustainability, there is also increasing interest in combining analyses of both economic and environmental impacts (Ramilan et al., 2011). A sub-field of agricultural microsimulation addresses issues associated with land-use change from agriculture to forestry and vice versa (Ryan and O’Donoghue, 2019; Phimmavong & Keenan, 2020) and vice versa. The former transition is particularly important as it helps to mitigate significant carbon emissions from agriculture. This paper describes the development of a model that incorporates both economic and environmental dimensions of the land-use change from agriculture to forestry.
  • Effect of classroom intervention on student food selection and plate waste: Evidence from a randomized control trial

    Serebrennikov, Dmytro; Katare, Bhagyashree; Kirkham, Lisa; Schmitt, Sara; Indiana State Department of Health (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2020-01-09)
    Background U.S. children are failing to meet the recommended daily 4 cups of fruits and vegetables. New federal guidelines were implemented for healthier school lunches for the National School Lunch Programs (NSLP). Consequently, students waste large amounts of fruits and vegetables. Several organizations advocate implementation of classroom nutrition education programs as a school nutrition policy. Methods We conducted a randomized control trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a classroom nutrition education on food consumption behavior of public elementary school students. Our intervention was designed to improve students’ preferences for fruits and vegetables. We collected data using digital-photography, and estimated the amount of fruits and vegetables selected and wasted using ordinary least squares. Results The nutrition education program had no impact on the amount of fruits and vegetables selected by the students in the treatment group. We also find no significant difference in the amount of fruits and vegetables wasted by students in the treatment and control group. Conclusion Nutrition education did not change students’ consumption behavior, implying the proposed policy might not be optimal. Inducing a behavioral change in elementary school students is an intricate process and might require more than classroom lessons to change their dietary habits.
  • PastureBase Ireland: A grassland decision support system and national database

    Hanrahan, Liam; Geoghegan, Anne; O'Donovan, Michael; Griffith, Vincent; Ruelle, Elodie; Wallace, Michael; Shalloo, Laurence (Elsevier BV, 2017-04-15)
    PastureBase Ireland (PBI) is a web-based grassland management application incorporating a dual function of grassland decision support and a centralized national database to collate commercial farm grassland data. This database facilitates the collection and storage of vast quantities of grassland data from grassland farmers. The database spans across ruminant grassland enterprises – dairy, beef and sheep. To help farmers determine appropriate actions around grassland management, we have developed this data informed decision support tool to function at the paddock level. Individual farmers enter data through the completion of regular pasture cover estimations across the farm, allowing the performance of individual paddocks to be evaluated within and across years. To evaluate the PBI system, we compared actual pasture cut experimental data (Etesia cuts) to PBI calculated outputs. We examined three comparisons, comparing PBI outputs to actual pasture cut data, for individual DM yields at defoliation (Comparison 1), for cumulative annual DM yields including silage data (Comparison 2) and, for cumulative annual DM yields excluding silage data (Comparison 3). We found an acceptable accuracy between PBI outputs and pasture cut data when statistically analyzed using relative prediction error and concordance correlation coefficients for the measurement of total annual DM yield (Comparison 2), with a relative prediction error of 15.4% and a concordance correlation coefficient of 0.85. We demonstrated an application of the PBI system through analysis of commercial farm data across two years (2014–2015) for 75 commercial farms who actively use the system. The analysis showed there was a significant increase in DM yield from 2014 to 2015. The results indicated a greater variation in pasture growth across paddocks within farms than across farms.
  • Functional Land Management for managing soil functions: A case-study of the trade-off between primary productivity and carbon storage in response to the intervention of drainage systems in Ireland

    O'Sullivan, L.; Creamer, Rachel; Fealy, Reamonn; Lanigan, Gary; Simo, I.; Fenton, Owen; Carfrae, J.; Schulte, R.P.O.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Elsevier BV, 2015-09)
    Globally, there is growing demand for increased agricultural outputs. At the same time, the agricultural industry is expected to meet increasingly stringent environmental targets. Thus, there is an urgent pressure on the soil resource to deliver multiple functions simultaneously. The Functional Land Management framework (Schulte et al., 2014) is a conceptual tool designed to support policy making to manage soil functions to meet these multiple demands. This paper provides a first example of a practical application of the Functional Land Management concept relevant to policy stakeholders. In this study we examine the trade-offs, between the soil functions ‘primary productivity’ and ‘carbon cycling and storage’, in response to the intervention of land drainage systems applied to ‘imperfectly’ and ‘poorly’ draining managed grasslands in Ireland. These trade-offs are explored as a function of the nominal price of ‘Certified Emission Reductions’ or ‘carbon credits’. Also, these trade-offs are characterised spatially using ArcGIS to account for spatial variability in the supply of soil functions. To manage soil functions, it is essential to understand how individual soil functions are prioritised by those that are responsible for the supply of soil functions – generally farmers and foresters, and those who frame demand for soil functions – policy makers. Here, in relation to these two soil functions, a gap exists in relation to this prioritisation between these two stakeholder groups. Currently, the prioritisation and incentivisation of these competing soil functions is primarily a function of CO2 price. At current CO2 prices, the agronomic benefits outweigh the monetised environmental costs. The value of CO2 loss would only exceed productivity gains at either higher CO2 prices or at a reduced discount period rate. Finally, this study shows large geographic variation in the environmental cost: agronomic benefit ratio. Therein, the Functional Land Management framework can support the development of policies that are more tailored to contrasting biophysical environments and are therefore more effective than ‘blanket approaches’ allowing more specific and effective prioritisation of contrasting soil functions.
  • The challenge of managing soil functions at multiple scales: An optimisation study of the synergistic and antagonistic trade-offs between soil functions in Ireland

    Valujeva, Kristine; O’Sullivan, Lilian; Gutzler, Carsten; Fealy, Reamonn; Schulte, Rogier P.; European Commission (Elsevier, 2016-08-09)
    Recent forecasts show a need to increase agricultural production globally by 60% from 2005 to 2050, in order to meet a rising demand from a growing population. This poses challenges for scientists and policy makers to formulate solutions on how to increase food production and simultaneously meet environmental targets such as the conservation and protection of water, the conservation of biodiversity, and the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. As soil and land are subject to growing pressure to meet both agronomic and environmental targets, there is an urgent need to understand to what extent these diverging targets can be met simultaneously. Previously, the concept of Functional Land Management (FLM) was developed as a framework for managing the multifunctionality of land. In this paper, we deploy and evaluate the concept of FLM, using a real case-study of Irish agriculture. We investigate a number of scenarios, encompassing combinations of intensification, expansion and land drainage, for managing three soil functions, namely primary productivity, water purification and carbon sequestration. We use proxy-indicators (milk production, nitrate concentrations and area of new afforestation) to quantify the ‘supply’ of these three soil functions, and identify the relevant policy targets to frame the ‘demand’ for these soil functions. Specifically, this paper assesses how soil management and land use management interact in meeting these multiple targets simultaneously, by employing a non-spatial land use model for livestock production in Ireland that assesses the supply of soil functions for contrasting soil drainage and land use categories. Our results show that, in principle, it is possible to manage these three soil functions to meet both agronomic and environmental objectives, but as we add more soil functions, the management requirements become increasingly complex. In theory, an expansion scenario could meet all of the objectives simultaneously. However, this scenario is highly unlikely to materialise due to farm fragmentation, low land mobility rates and the challenging afforestation rates required for achieving the greenhouse gas reduction targets. In the absence of targeted policy interventions, an unmanaged combination of scenarios is more likely to emerge. The challenge for policy formation on future land use is how to move from an unmanaged combination scenario towards a managed combination scenario, in which the soil functions are purposefully managed to meet current and future agronomic and environmental targets, through a targeted combination of intensification, expansion and land drainage. Such purposeful management requires that the supply of each soil function is managed at the spatial scale at which the corresponding demand manifests itself. This spatial scale may differ between the soil functions, and may range from farm scale to national scale. Finally, our research identifies the need for future research to also consider and address the misalignment of temporal scales between the supply and demand of soil functions.
  • AGMEMOD Outlook for Agricultural and Food Markets in EU Member States 2018-2030

    Salomon, Petra; Banse, Martin; Donellan, Trevor; Hass, Marlen; Jongeneel, Roel; Laquai, Verena; van Leeuwen, Myrna; Reziti, Ioanna; Salputra, Guna; Zirngibl, Max-Emanuel; et al. (2020-07-31)
    Policy, administration and industry need medium-term projections of the expected developments in the agri-food markets for their decision-making processes. The EU Commission presents such projections for the EU as a whole in December of each year. Those projections and their assumptions regarding policy and macroeconomic developments are depicted to the level of individual EU Member States with the exception of Luxembourg, which is included in the figures of Belgium, by applying the partial equilibrium model AGMEMOD. The working paper briefly describes the approach to establish projections for the EU Member States. The projections cover the markets of main agricultural products, in particular for cereals and oilseeds (rapeseed and sunflower seed), livestock (cattle, pigs, goats and sheep), meat (beef, pork, and poultry), milk and dairy products (drinking milk, butter, cheese, skimmed milk powder, whole milk and semiskimmed milk powder). The outcomes comprise items like areas, livestock numbers, yields, production, trade and use, as well as prices. The individual projection results are displayed in tables.
  • Barriers to uptake of technology in animal production

    Macken-Walsh, Aine (Teagasc, 2019-12-06)
    Presentation from the Joint Teagasc-SRUC Conference "Rural Futures II: Towards sustainable solutions for Ruminant Pastoral Agricultural Systems in Scotland and Ireland"
  • Assessing the role of artificially drained agricultural land for climate change mitigation in Ireland

    Paul, Carsten; Fealy, Reamonn; Fenton, Owen; Lanigan, Gary; O'Sullivan, Lilian; Schulte, Rogier P.; Irish Dairy Research Fund; Teagasc Greenhouse Gas Working Group; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Elsevier, 2017-12-19)
    In 2014 temperate zone emission factor revisions were published in the IPCC Wetlands Supplement. Default values for direct CO2 emissions of artificially drained organic soils were increased by a factor of 1.6 for cropland sites and by factors ranging from 14 to 24 for grassland sites. This highlights the role of drained organic soils as emission hotspots and makes their rewetting more attractive as climate change mitigation measures. Drainage emissions of humic soils are lower on a per hectare basis and not covered by IPCC default values. However, drainage of great areas can turn them into nationally relevant emission sources. National policy making that recognizes the importance of preserving organic and humic soils’ carbon stock requires data that is not readily available. Taking Ireland as a case study, this article demonstrates how a dataset of policy relevant information can be generated. Total area of histic and humic soils drained for agriculture, resulting greenhouse gas emissions and climate change mitigation potential were assessed. For emissions from histic soils, calculations were based on IPCC emission factors, for humic soils, a modified version of the ECOSSE model was used. Results indicated 370,000 ha of histic and 426,000 ha of humic soils under drained agricultural land use in Ireland (8% and 9% of total farmed area). Calculated annual drainage emissions were 8.7 Tg CO2e from histic and 1.8 Tg CO2e from humic soils (equal to 56% of Ireland’s agricultural emissions in 2014, excluding emissions from land use). If half the area of drained histic soils was rewetted, annual saving would amount to 3.2 Tg CO2e. If on half of the deep drained, nutrient rich grasslands drainage spacing was decreased to control the average water table at −25 cm or higher, annual savings would amount to 0.4 Tg CO2e.
  • Functional land management: A framework for managing soil-based ecosystem services for the sustainable intensification of agriculture

    Schulte, Rogier P.; Creamer, Rachel; Donnellan, Trevor; Farrelly, Niall; Fealy, Reamonn; O’Donoghue, Cathal; O’hUallachain, Daire (Elsevier, 2013-11-20)
    Sustainable food production has re-emerged at the top of the global policy agenda, driven by two challenges: (1) the challenge to produce enough food to feed a growing world population and (2) the challenge to make more efficient and prudent use of the world's natural resources. These challenges have led to a societal expectation that the agricultural sector increase productivity, and at the same time provide environmental ‘ecosystem services’ such as the provision of clean water, air, habitats for biodiversity, recycling of nutrients and mitigation against climate change. Whilst the degree to which agriculture can provide individual ecosystem services has been well researched, it is unclear how and to what extent agriculture can meet all expectations relating to environmental sustainability simultaneously, whilst increasing the quantity of food outputs. In this paper, we present a conceptual framework for the quantification of the ‘supply of’ and ‘demand for’ agricultural, soil-based ecosystem services or ‘soil functions’. We use Irish agriculture as a case-study for this framework, using proxy-indicators to determine the demand for individual soil functions, as set by agri-environmental policies, as well as the supply of soil functions, as defined by land use and soil type. We subsequently discuss how this functionality of soils can be managed or incentivised through policy measures, with a view to minimising the divergence between agronomic policies designed to promote increased agricultural production and environmental policy objectives. Finally, we discuss the applicability of this conceptual framework to agriculture and agri-environmental policies at EU level, and the implications for policy makers.
  • The Impact of a Values-Based Supply Chain (VBSC) on Farm-Level Viability, Sustainability and Resilience: Case Study Evidence

    Hooks, Teresa; Macken-Walsh, Aine; McCarthy, Olive; Power, Carol; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (MDPI, 2017-02-14)
    The ‘Agriculture of the Middle’ (AotM) development paradigm emphasises that in order to survive, family farms must transition from a supply chain approach to a values-based supply chain (VBSC) approach, involving amendments to both product type and actor dynamics within the chain. This paper presents a qualitative case study of a beef co-operative integrated to a VBSC. We use an analytical framework of viability, sustainability and resilience to analyse impacts at farm-level. Our analysis highlights a number of positive effects on farm-level viability, sustainability and resilience. These benefits stemmed largely from improvements to market orientation, price stability, and members’ capacities in responding to problems. However, the autonomy of the co-operative was challenged by VBSC chain members, which impacted negatively on the stability of the co-operative.
  • The Welfare Impact of Price Changes on Household Welfare and Inequality 1999-2011

    Loughrey, Jason; O’Donoghue, Cathal (Economic and Social Studies, 2012)
    This paper attempts to use applied micro-economic research to understand the impact of price changes over the period 1999-2011 in Ireland. This measure combines an efficiency component using a Linear Expenditure System (LES) and an equity component using the Atkinson Index of Inequality. The efficiency component includes the behavioural response to price changes for non-subsistence expenditures thereby producing a Cost of Living Index. The Atkinson Index of Inequality produces an inequality measure and this is combined with the Cost of Living Index to produce an overall welfare measure. This extends upon the existing Irish literature on this issue by accounting for this broader set of components. The results show that changes in the cost of living have differed substantially between households both in terms of demographics and the position of the household in the income distribution and that behavioural response can potentially improve the welfare position of households in response to price changes in most years.
  • Making sense of altmetrics: The perceived threats and opportunities for academic identity

    Regan, Aine; Henchion, Maeve; CommBeBiz Project; European Union; 652707 (Oxford University Press, 2019-01-30)
    How research impact is defined and evaluated is much-debated at research policy level. Offering one avenue for capturing societal research impact, altmetrics are proposed as quantitative indicators providing a measure of the reach and attention that a research output, such as a peer-reviewed paper, is receiving online. Eighty publicly-funded food researchers participated in an online mixed-methods engagement study. The analytical framework of sensemaking was used to explore participants’ views of altmetrics as a threat or opportunity for their perceived professional identities. The identities important to our participants included ensuring rigour and quality in knowledge production; communicating and engaging with non-academic audiences; and bringing about tangible and meaningful changes in society. While an appetite for changes to research evaluation was apparent in our study, altmetrics was perceived to introduce a number of different threats as well as opportunities to the academic identity, which will influence its potential uptake and use.

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