Teagasc advisory offices are open for pre-arranged appointments only and for staff who are unable to work from home, according to the state agency.
Each Teagasc location will set up one bio-secure office for essential one-to-one consultations. “This will involve a double desk with a clear Perspex divider and a computer with two screens.”
“Clients will be asked to wait in their cars to prevent contact in waiting areas and where essential clients may also have to sign forms in the office parking area.”
BPS applications and derogation plants
All Teagasc Basic Payment appointments will now be processed over the phone rather than an office consultation.
The state agency outlined that staff will contact farmer clients in the coming weeks. “BPS application for clients, in so far as possible, will be done over the phone.”
All appointments to get derogation plans completed for farmers will be processed over the phone rather than in an office consultation.
“Prior to application submission, clients will be asked to signify agreement to the application through email or text. Teagasc staff will contact clients to make arrangements.”
On-farm, Teagasc farmer discussion group meetings are being replaced with one-hour phone meetings between farmers and their advisor. “Farm visits by Teagasc advisors are taking place at the client’s request and only for urgent issues. Social distancing and hygiene protocols will be adhered to.”
“Visits for programmes where work can be completed with no contact with the farmer will continue.” a statement from the state agency added.
Colleges and education centres
Its agriculture and horticulture colleges and education centres are closed to students in line with the government decision that schools and third-level colleges from March 12th to March 29th.
“Teagasc education staff, where practical, are working remotely. In the event that the closure of all schools and colleges is prolonged, Teagasc is arranging that guidance for self-study of theory elements of courses will be communicated through online channels.”
All Teagasc events have been postponed until further notice. This includes farm walks, conferences, and seminars.