Junior Agriculture Minister Pippa Hackett was in Waterford today to launch the South East Technological University's new Department of Land Sciences.
It's to coincide with World Soil Day which also takes place today.
Although SETU Waterford has collaborated with Teagasc for almost 50 years in delivering land sciences education, growing numbers at the college and an increase in demand for courses has led to the creation of the new department.
Eleanor Kent is the Head of the new Department. She says they're one of the biggest providers of land related programmes in the country.
The university offers degrees in Agriculture, Agricultural Science, Food Science, Horticulture, and Forestry.
"We're one of the biggest providers of land science education in the country," Eleanor said.
Doctor Sara Vero is a lecturer in Agriculture Science at the University. She says it's a huge development since Ireland is an agricultural nation.
"It's really crucial that we have the graduates and the skilled people to go out there, to go into industry, and to go to farming and really develop it," she said.
In terms of soil, Dr Vero believes we don't appreciate it as a resource despite it being our primary natural one.
"It's repsonsible for our nutrient cycling, provisioning of our food, purification of our water,"
Elanor says they need additional resources and funding as they're nearly at capacity.
She was speaking to WLR News after the launch of the new Department.
They're appealing for extra resources to cater for the growing demand for the courses.
"We are appealing for extra resources and funding in terms of infrastructure and more buildings to secure the number of students who want to cfome and study land sciences here in the South East," she said.
Eleanor says they're going to be ambitious while offering new courses for students who don't want to leave the South East.
The university are now in the second phase of the possibility of offering a degree in Veterinary Medicine.
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