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Recent agricultural development has enhanced the appeal of farming to young people across Ireland, leading to rising CAO Applications in Agriculture and Horticulture courses.

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“There are 56 agricultural classes and courses in Ireland, offering a plethora of cutting-edge contemporary technology and approaches to modern farming in Ireland.” Union of Students in Ireland president Kevin Donoghue said, “Ireland’s agri-food sector is an economically thriving area which continues to grow, thanks to scientific developments which have hugely increased the appeal of farming as a profession and academic area.”

In 2003, 1821 students applied for agriculture/horticulture courses. In 2004, 1632 applied, and in 2005, 1772 applied for the same courses. Ten years later, in 2013 2,690 students applied, in 2014 2,858 applied and in 2015 2,651 applied for agriculture/horticulture courses according to the CAO office.

The agri-food sector in Ireland contributes a value of €24 billion to the national economy, generates 6.3% of gross value added, amounts to almost 10% of Ireland’s exports and provides 7.7% of national employment, according to Teagasc.

“Modern advances have changed the mechanics of farming,” USI president Kevin Donoghue said “Such as new technologies to enhance data precision for and automation of grazing management, controlled timing of parturition in beef cattle, evaluating by-products for inclusion in ruminant and monogastric diets; and an advancement in fertiliser technologies for improved efficiency and reduced gaseous emissions. Irish farming is at the forefront of all of these modernisations so it’s no wonder there’s been an increase in the amount of young people applying for agriculture and horticulture courses over the past ten years.”

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