The 2018 annual report for the farmer-funded research and innovation body, AgriSearch has just been published. Outgoing Chairman, Michael Bell, outlines the value of research projects secured through the ability to leverage collaborative working, in the report he said, “AgriSearch continues to develop strongly on behalf of levy payers. I have had the privilege of leading the board of Trustees for two years and I believe we have delivered a huge value. The evidence for this is that in the past year £708k of levies donated have generated some £18.2M of project work. That’s a return of over 25:1.”

 “We are in a time of great flux for our Industry and AgriSearch, whilst not a lobbying body, is a supplier of accurate and timely data. It is very important that decisions are based on real data / sound science and not just opinions.”

In his remarks incoming Chairman John Henning said, “Michael has led the organisation for the past two years with distinction and we are grateful to him for his guidance and oversight leadership during this time particularly with our ongoing strategic review and governance improvement.

“This process of change is ongoing. We are presently reviewing how the Board of Trustees and valuable Advisory Committees work in order to improve their effectiveness – both for the organisation and for the individuals who give up their valuable time on behalf of our levy payers.

“AgriSearch is a local organisation established by farmers for farmers and our Trustees are very conscious of their responsibility to manage the finances wisely and maximise research ‘value’ from the funds we spend. Key to success in this area is using the multi-actor approach and our ability to work with many partners including AFBI, CIEL, DAERA, IGFS, AHDB, and others.

“During my term at the helm I will work with fellow Trustees to keep farmers at the centre of what we do and ensure we maximise our knowledge exchange so that the positive messages from the research we commission get utilised on farm to improve the efficiency, profitability and sustainability of the ruminant livestock sector in Northern Ireland.”

The annual report can be viewed by clicking here.

Agrisearch is stepping up its knowledge exchange programme this year. Its popular GrassCheck bulletin which it compiles in conjunction with AFBI will re-commence on 21st March. In addition, there are a number of Spring Farm Walks planned. Farmers and stakeholders can also keep up to date with current projects and research news via the Agrisearch website and social media channels.