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Minister Coveney Launches 'Pastures New' at Dublin Zoo's Family Farm on 16th November 2011

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today launched 'Pastures NEW' at Dublin Zoo's Family Farm. 'Pastures New' is a new 400 page textbook for Leaving Certificate students studying the Agricultural Science syllabus produced by Agri Aware and Irish Agricultural Science Teachers Association (IASTA) and comprises all the study guides that were delivered through the Irish Farmers Journal over the past five years plus additional relevant information.

Agricultural Science is one of the four recognised laboratory science subjects on the Leaving Certificate curriculum. The subject covers a wide range of topics including soils, plants, crops, grassland, genetics and animals and aims to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes concerning the factors that affect the long-term well-being of agricultural resources and places emphasis on the managed use of these resources.

The Minister said "In the period 2007 - 2010, the number of secondary schools offering Agricultural Science as part of the Leaving Certificate curriculum has increased from 194 to 266 schools.  Consequently, the number of students taking the Agricultural Science exam has also increased in the same period from 4,267 to 6,878".

He added "There has been a fundamental rethink of the importance of the role of agriculture in our economy.  Demand for agriculture courses is at an all time high; enrolments in Teagasc courses has almost doubled in the last five years, while points have soared for agriculture courses at third level. It is clear that students can see the benefits of a career in the agri-food industry".

The Minister highlighted that Ireland's agriculture sector is on the cusp of profound change. It requires expert, enthusiastic and innovative individuals to grow our agriculture sector in an environmentally sustainable manner to meet the food demands of an ever increasing world population. He added "Agricultural Science prepares students for a lifetime of informed choices in the global agriculture, food, fibre and natural resources systems".

Concluding, the Minister congratulated the combined effort of Agri Aware, IASTA and the Irish Farmers Journal in providing this excellent educational resource for teachers and students adding "it will undoubtedly instil a passion for agricultural learning in our students".

Notes to Editors:

Agri Aware is a charitable trust which works toward improving the image and understanding of Ireland's Agriculture, Farming ad Food Industry. It works closely with teachers and students throughout the country, both at primary and secondary level to raise awareness of agriculture through curriculum -linked resources. Information is also provided to the general public to enhance understanding of the economic, social, environmental and cultural importance of the Irish Farming and Food Industry.

The Irish Agricultural Science Teachers' Association (IASTA) is an association that aims to represent the Agricultural Science subject and its teachers and serve to provide ongoing resources and support.

 The Agricultural Science Study Guides ran in the Irish Farmers Journal for 28 weeks of the academic year, covering a range of Agricultural Science syllabus topics.

Date Released: 16 November 2011