The former director of Teagasc, Prof. Gerry Boyle, has been appointed as the new chair of AgriSearch, the Northern Ireland Agricultural Research and Development Council.

The appointment was confirmed during the recent Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the farmer-funded research and innovation body.

Boyle was at the helm in Teagasc from 2007–2021, during which time he was bestowed with the Academic Palm by the French government in 2017, and was conferred with an honorary degree in science by University College Cork (UCC) in 2019.

In 2018, he was elected President of Euragri – the EU network for public agri-food research and innovation organisations, and from 2017-2022 he served as an ex-officio member of the Climate Change Advisory Council.

Last year, Boyle was appointed as chair of the Food Vision Dairy Group to examine how the sector could reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.


AgriSearch is an independent charity, registered with the Charities Commission for Northern Ireland.

It was formed in 1997 to provide a mechanism through which beef, dairy and sheep farmers could have direct involvement in production orientated research.

Funds contributed to AgriSearch are used to commission research into the improvement and development of beef, sheep and dairy farming.

During the charity’s recent AGM, Norman McMordie and Ian McCluggage were appointed as joint vice chair.

Norman McMordie hails from a Co. Down beef farm which is home to the Solpoll herd of pedigree Herefords.

He was the managing director of the Veterinary Surgeons’ Supply Company for 20 years, he has remained as a director in the wholesale business since his retirement in 2018.

Ian McCluggage, who was raised on a dairy farm in Co. Antrim, was formerly the head of branch for Knowledge and Technology Transfer Operational Policy at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE).

He also served as president of the Ulster Grassland Society and president of the Northern Ireland Institute of Agricultural Science.


The meeting also saw the appointment of sheep farmer Crosby Cleland to the AgriSearch board and the confirmation of the previous appointments of Sam Chesney and Alan McCay.

Commenting following the AGM, the new AgriSearch chair Gerry Boyle said:

“The Northern Ireland ruminant livestock sector is facing a time of unprecedented challenges and AgriSearch is privileged to have secured the services of three such well qualified and experienced trustees who will be invaluable in helping AgriSearch adapt to continue to meet the needs of the sector.”

Boyle also thanked outgoing chair Seamus McCaffrey and Wilbert Mayne, Martyn Blair and Peter Morrow who have all stepped down from the board.