Cork County Committee of Agriculture

Repository: Cork City and County Archives

Identity Statement

TitleCork County Committee of Agriculture
Archive ReferenceIE CCCA/CC/CM/AG
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1901-1980
Level of DescriptionFonds
Extent Medium37 items


Creator(s): Cork County Committee of Agriculture

  • Administrative History ↴

    Cork County Committee of Agriculture was established and appointed by Cork County Council in December 1901, with full powers delegated to it, under the Agriculture and Technical Instruction Act 1899. Local authorities were given the power to levy rates on agricultural land for investment in the development of agriculture and rural industries. Financed by this levy, the county committees of agriculture were tasked with providing technical instruction to farmers and stimulating rural industry, under the general auspices of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction in Dublin. From about 1904, the Committee administered an agricultural education scheme for the benefit of farmers and small holders in Cork, employing 5 instructors to advice on all matters connected with stock-keeping, crop-raising, purchase of manures and feeding stuffs. In the winter, lectures were delivered and classes provided. An additional 4 itinerant instructors were employed for horticulture and beekeeping, and instruction on poultry keeping and dairying was provided by a number of trained female instructors, who as well as lecturing and giving demonstrations, visited farms on request. In 1906, the Committee consisted of all the members of Cork County Council, plus 28 other appointees including landowners such as George Culturist and R. Bench Jones. With the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922, key functions of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction were retained, including the County Committees of Agriculture. Legislation over the years impacted on the work of the Committees, such as the Agricultural Act 1931, which strengthened their position, requiring them to administer local agricultural schemes. The 1931 Act also reduced the size of committees, which were not to exceed 32 members. Each electoral area was to have no more than 3 or 4 representatives on the committee. From this time, each county committee was given the responsibility to establish a farm advisory service. In 1935, the Committee consisted of about 24 County Councillors plus 8 other appointees including Professor C. Boyle, U.C.C, and E. J. Cussed, Secretary of the Farmers Union. In later years a Chief Agricultural Officer (CAO) with an advisory staff had responsibility for implementing the farm advisory programme in each county. The CAO reported to the County Agricultural Committee at monthly meetings. All staff were employed by the Committees of Agriculture. The cost of the service was split between the County Council and Dept of Agriculture. Staff numbers, qualifications and appointments were all subject to the approval of the Minister of Agriculture. Recruitment and promotions were processed by the Local Appointments Commission up to 2004. The Committee provided scholarships to the Munster Dairy School and Agricultural Institute, Model Farm Road, Cork, where pupils obtained qualifications in fields such as poultry keeping and butter making, qualifications which enabled them to seek employment as county agricultural instructors under the schemes administered by the County Committee. The Committee was also tasked with providing subsidies to agricultural shows held within the county. In 1977, the objectives of the Committee were described in the minutes as working for better farming, leading to better incomes, and better living standards, for farmers in the county. 1980 saw the establishment of An Chomhairle Oiliúna Talmhaíochta (ACOT) (the Agricultural Training Council) and a reduction in the responsibilities of County Committees of Agriculture. Their new role involved monitoring the work of ACOT at local level, and organising educational and advisory programmes within their counties, programmes which were to be approved by ACOT. In 1988 ACOT was amalgamated with An Foras Talúntais (AFT) (the Agricultural Research Institute, a body established in 1958 to conduct agricultural research). This resulted in the formation of a new organisation, Teagasc, which remains in operation today. The formation of Teagasc saw the disestablishment of Ireland’s County Committees of Agriculture for which there was no longer a role. Teagasc provides advice, education, training and research services to the agriculture and food industry.
  • Archival History ↴

    Donated to Archives in 2009 by Teagasc, Farranlea Road, Cork.
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Cork County Committee of Agriculture ↴

    The archives of the Cork County Committee of Agriculture consist of minute books, attendance registers, and financial records.

    Registers of attendance at committee meetings, September 1953 –January 1978.

    Minute books, recording the proceedings of meetings and decisions made, 1901 to 1980. These records are a valuable source for social and economic history, and the local history of Cork County. The records help to document the impact of various events on Cork’s agricultural industry including the First World War, the establishment of the Irish Free State, the impact of trade agreements, the Economic War, the Second World War and Ireland’s entry into the E.E.C.

    Financial records, 1902 to 1968. The largest series of financial records are the financial statements of expenditure books (books containing records of the funds spent), comprising of seven volumes, 1902 to 1953. There are six volumes of financial minutes (official records of monetary actions), 1939 – 1950 and two receipt books (books containing a record of money received), 1921-1937. Also found are an Inspector’s Travel Log, 1956 – 1958 and Salary Sheets, 1954 – 1956.

    Both the minute books and financial records provide an insight into the schemes which were operated by the County Committee with the approval of the Department of Agriculture, including agricultural and horticultural instruction, poultry keeping, butter making, bee keeping, a fruit tree scheme, fox eradication, rabbit extermination, tillage, shelter belt and lime and sea sand subsidy schemes, breeding schemes for cattle, horses, pigs and sheep. References are also made to agricultural colleges including the Albert College at Glasnevin and the Munster Institute.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    A. Attendance Registers 1953 – 1978 (2 items)
    B. Minute Books 1901 -1980 (13 items)
    C: Financial Records 1902 – 1963 (22 items)

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Open for research by appointment for those holding a current readers ticket
Conditions Governing ReproductionSubject to rules governing reproduction of records of CCCA
Creation Dates1901-1980
Level of DescriptionFonds
Extent Medium37 items
Material Language ScriptEnglish, some Irish
Finding Aids Descriptive list Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Related MaterialCCCA: CC Archives of Cork County Council (Minute Books, and County Secretary Files) U619 Munster Dairy School and Agricultural Institute PR4/2/18 Letter from Terence MacSwiney re: timber in Ballyvourney Woods B609 Bennett’s of Ballinacurra CP/CO/M Cork City Council Minute Books BG - various Board of Guardian records for Cork County SM649 Industrial and Agricultural Fair, Cork, 1932 Elsewhere: UCC Library: Annual Reports of Cork County Committee of Agriculture, 1968 – 1969, 1979 Agriculture and the County Cork: report 1981, programme 1982 / ACOT and Cork County Committee of Agriculture Agriculture and the County Cork: report 1982, programme 1983 / ACOT and Cork County Committee of Agriculture Agriculture in the County Cork: report 1983 -1984, programme 1985 /ACOT and the County Cork Committee of Agriculture National Archives of Ireland: Archives of the Department of Agriculture
Publication NoteDaily, Mary E. (2002). The First Department: A History of the Department of Agriculture. Dublin: The Institute of Public Administration. Hoctor, D. (1971). The Departments Story: A History of the Department of Agriculture. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration. Cork Chamber of Commerce (1919.) Cork, Its Trade and Commerce, Handbook. Purcell’s Cork Almanac and Directory (1906)

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NotePatricia Bedlow; Brian McGee
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of DescriptionsJan-12