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Horse & Jockey Hotel Thurles



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9.00am – 9.30am – Registration.

9.30am – Opening Remarks – Barry O’Sullivan, Chairman of Mid West Action Plan for Jobs.

9.40am – 10.00am: Future Developments of AgTech in Ireland. Identify and develop the opportunities and strengths of the agricultural technology sector in the Region and Nationally.

Chair – Peter Young, Irish Farmers Journal.

  • Dr. Frank O’Mara, Director of Research, Teagasc
  • Prof Willie Donnelly – President of WIT and Founder of TSSG
  • Patrick Barrett Agricultural Inspector at Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine

10.00am - 10.45 am: How can the transfer of ready built technologies impact on the sector?

Ready built technologies are becoming key to developing the AgTech sector at pace.

Chair: Brian Foley, EU Quality Manager, TSSG

  • Ethan Cleary, Head of IT Strategy, IFA
  • Frances Cleary – Tech Lead TSSG
  • Tom Mitchell, CEO and Founder of NVT, Scotland

10.45am – 11.15am– BREAK

11.15am – 12.00pm – Opportunities for AgTech – An Innovation Fund or Accelerator?

What does it mean to get early stage funding intervention for your start-up and what would it mean to you if there was an AgTech Innovation Fund set up in the region to invest in early-stage food and agricultural technology companies?

Chair – Peter Young, Irish Farmers Journal

  • Barry Downes, Managing Partner, Suir Valley Ventures
  • Fabien Peyaud, CEO and Founder, Herdwatch
  • Andrew Wood – Chairman of ApisProtect
  • Robert Walker, CEO, Keenans Systems.

12.00pm – 1.00pm: The Real Impact of AgTech on the Farm – hear it directly from the farmers.

When we apply tech solutions, what does this really mean on the ground for the farmer?

Chair – Peter Young, Irish Farmers Journal

  • Dermot Forristal, Researcher Crops and Mechanisation (Teagasc)
  • Niall Austin, Cattle Farmer, Director and Founder of MooCall
  • Kevin Nolan, Tillage Farmer, Nolan Farming
  • Brian Reidy, Suckler to Weanling Producer & Premier Farm Nutrition
  • Michael Downey, Dairy Farmer

1.00pm – 2.00pm – LUNCH

Research and Application – Workshops – 1hr.

Bio – Economy I Smart Farming & Sensors I Engineering - GM

2.00pm – 3.00pm

Workshop 1:


Area: Bio – Economy:

TITLE: AgriForValor - Agriculture Offers Biggest Opportunities for Bioeconomy

Facilitator – Barry Caslin, Teagasc

Speakers –

1. James Gaffey –Tralee IT "New Biobased Opportunities for Ireland"

2. Dr. Helena McMahon Tralee IT - "Circular Economy for the Irish Agri Sector"

Company –

1. Enda Buckley - Carbery

2. Jack O’Connor – BHSL

AGRIFORVALOR will close the research and innovation divide by connecting practitioners from agriculture and forestry with research and academia as well as with associations and clusters, bio - industry, policy makers; business support organisations, innovation agencies and technology transfer intermediaries in multi-actor innovation partnership networks in order to valorize and exploit sidestream biomass resources from agriculture and forestry. This workshop will focus on ‘Opportunities for the Bioeconomy’ will include feedback from design thinking approach to biobased ideas from the AgriForValor thematic network. The workshop will give attendees the opportunity to identify and hear about ideas for the bioeconomy in Ireland based on EU and global developments. We will hear from leading experts on adding value to agricultural biomass, hear from an entrepreneur who has been there and learn about funding opportunities in the space. Ideas will be presented at the end of the workshop with the opportunity to join business partnership groups that will have the chance to avail of a suite of supports though the AgriForValor project later this year and into 2018.

Barry Caslin – (B.Agr.Sc, MEnv.Sc) is Teagasc Bioenergy and Rural Development Specialist. Prior to joining the specialist service Barry worked for eight years in the advisory service with Teagasc and prior to that worked with Glanbia in Germany in the meat industry. Barry has presented a local radio programme on Shannonside Northern Sound for four year for Macra na Feirme on youth related issues and on Ocean FM for three years on behalf of Teagasc where he presented an agricultural show. Barry works in the Rural Economy and Development Programme. He has a hons degree in Agricultural Science from UCD and a Masters in Environmental Protection from Sligo IT.

Helena McMahon (BSc, MSc, PhD) is Principle Investigator at Shannon ABC, Institute of Technology Tralee. Dr. McMahon has an extensive project portfolio, at a national and EU level in product innovation, commercialisation and Industry (SME) collaboration. Of particular interest are the areas of functional ingredients (nutraceuticals & cosmeceuticals), biomaterials, facilitation of SME collaborative actions, technology transfer and innovation management. EU level activities are focused in enterprise support initiatives and networks. Dr. McMahon is currently hub manager on the AgriForValor Project, having previously managed TRADEIT, an EU wide network for the support of traditional food producing SMEs with the goals of enterprise development via technology transfer, entrepreneurship and innovation facilitation. She has authored several papers, books and chapters and supervised MSc candidates working on RDI in the biotech and Agrifood areas.

James Gaffey (BSc, MSc) is Biorefinery Specialist at Shannon ABC, Institute of Technology, Tralee on Horizon 2020 AgriForValor. Prior to joining IT Tralee, James was based at the Technology Centre for Biorefining and Bioenergy at NUI Galway, working on a project portfolio which included “BioEire” - A Bioeconomy for Ireland, and “ReNEW” Resource innovation Network for European Waste. During this time, he served as a member of the Biorefinery Research, Implementation and Development Group. James was a founding member of the Cellulac project, a pioneering biorefinery company focused on the production of platform chemicals from biobased feedstocks. James initially worked in R&D with Sustainable Biopolymers Ltd.

Workshop 2:

Saddlers Wells

AREA: Automation in Agriculture

Title: Smart Farming through automation and sensor systems

Facilitator: James Maloney, Enterprise Ireland

Company – Keenan’s

The development of smarter solutions in agriculture have seen rapid, aided by cloud based technologies. This workshop focuses on the benefit these systems are bringing to world agriculture and the environment. Sustainable farming systems will rely heavily on technology in the future to guarantee food production to meet the demands of the growing world population. Efficiencies in the performance of both machines and the animals themselves are now underpinned by technology developed by Keenan in the Intouch and Pace system. We will also hear about how animal sensor technology is helping farmers to manage herd fertility and health delivering improved performance and increased profitability.

Workshop 3:

Buck House

AREA: GM Engineering

Title: Applying novel breeding technologies to boost productivity – a future opportunity?

Facilitator: Dr. Ewen Mullins, Principal Research Officer in the Teagasc Dept. Crop Science

The future direction of food production is towards a more sustainable model that will require the use of new technologies to increase yields/quality and reduce dependency on chemical inputs. One technology, genome editing, allows breeders to ‘upgrade’ existing adapted varieties by using proteins to optimise the activity of selected plant genes. Developed in the last 5 years, the technology has been demonstrated on major agricultural crops and an increasing number of horticultural crops of economic importance. Of significance, editing has already proven its ability to deliver varieties with increased disease resistance, which is of specific relevance to Ireland in light of current challenges. While editing technology provides exciting opportunities to sustain crop production in Ireland, the EU has yet to make a decision if edited varieties require regulation; even though the regulatory agencies of several member states have stated they should not be regulated.

Dr. Ewen Mullins is a Principal Research Officer in the Teagasc Dept. Crop Science in Oak Park, Carlow where his team of post-doctoral and PhD researchers are focussed on investigating the potential impact of novel technologies on the Irish tillage sector, with a specific focus on developing varieties with enhanced disease resistance profiles. Recent initiatives have examined the agri-environmental impact of a novel potato variety genetically engineered for late blight resistance, which was part of the EU funded AMIGA project. Current research is tasked with investigating the role genome editing could play in addressing agronomic challenges in our primary cropping systems. Today, he will talk about the subject of genome editing and the impact it is having already and the role it could play in the future in developing more sustainable cropping systems.

Event Details

This AgTech Symposium has been organised by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) in the South East Region including Tipperary, Kilkenny, Carlow, Wexford and Waterford in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland, Teagasc, Department of Agriculture, the Institutes of Technology, The Irish Farmers Journal, AgriForValor, TSSG and industry. This symposium is funded under the Action Plan for Jobs LEO Competitive Fund.

The Objectives of the Symposium is to call on best practice in order to identify and develop the opportunities and strengths of the agricultural technology sector in the Region and to create a vision for AgTech that will incorporate both innovation and sustainability. The event will explore ways to progress and adopt new and emerging technologies and solutions to increase productivity, profitability and promote new market diversification. This symposium will also examine the opportunity to develop an AgTech Innovation Fund to facilitate investment in early-stage food and agricultural technology companies. The fund will enable entrepreneurs to develop solutions to improve farm productivity, increase agricultural sustainability, modernise supply and distribution chains and create leading edge high-value products and services transforming the Region.


The format of the event is conference style in the morning with remarkable keynote speakers and panel discussion on topics at the very pulse of this evolving sector, followed by a light lunch with networking opportunities and optional interactive workshops in the afternoon.

Who should attend AgTech?

Farmers, Engineers, Companies, Entrepreneurs, Investors, Students of Agriculture, Technology, Research and Innovation, Media Correspondents and AgTech Commentators.

Why register your interest today?

Due to venue capacity places at this symposium are limited and demand is already high so for that reason we urge you to register your interest today as tickets will be strictly issued on a first come first served basis.

A mid-morning tea/coffee break & lunch is included in the ticket price of €50 per person.

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Horse & Jockey Hotel Thurles



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