New manager appointed to livestock genetics project

Steven Morrison is congratulated by Agri-Food Strategy Board Chairman Tony O'Neill.  Also included are James Campbell, Chair of AgriSearch and Ian Marshall, Chair of the AFSB Livestock Genetics Sub-Group
Steven Morrison is congratulated by Agri-Food Strategy Board Chairman Tony O'Neill. Also included are James Campbell, Chair of AgriSearch and Ian Marshall, Chair of the AFSB Livestock Genetics Sub-Group

Dr Steven Morrison has been appointed by AgriSearch as Project Manager to oversee development work for the proposed Northern Ireland Livestock Industries Data Hub.

The appointment has been welcomed by Agri-Food Strategy Board Chairman Tony O’Neill.

Mr O’Neill said: “The AFSB identified the area of livestock improvement through the use of genetics as fundamental to the livestock based agri-food sector being competitive in the long-term. We led the way by appointing a dedicated sub-group to identify options and the best way forward.

“We have welcomed the support of other industry organisations in this process, who commissioned and funded independent advice to make recommendations for the local sector and now, through AgriSearch, the industry itself is taking the lead by appointing a Project Manager to progress this work without delay.

“I would like to place on record my thanks to the trustees of AgriSearch for agreeing to take on this important step in enhancing the capability of the sector and wish Steven every success in his new role.”

Ian Marshall, Chair of the AFSB Livestock Genetics Sub-Group added: “The work undertaken by the Livestock Genetics sub-group has identified the best option for long term genetic improvement for the beef, sheep and dairy industry here. I am pleased that AgriSearch has wasted no time in appointing a suitable Project Manager to further progress this work.

“I would encourage all parts of the industry to engage positively in the process to ensure we develop a mechanism that best suits the long term sustainability of the sector.”

James Campbell, Chair of AgriSearch said it is the mission of AgriSearch to drive excellence and innovation.

He added: “The dairy and red meat sectors have much to gain from the co-ordination of data through the proposed hub. Having been asked by the Agri-Food Strategy Board to assist with the next phase of this challenge, the Trustees of AgriSearch agreed to employ a Project Manager and following an open recruitment process Steven Morrison has been appointed to this role.”

Steven Morrison is no stranger to agricultural databases having along with AFBI software development team, been responsible for the development of BovIS (Bovine Information System) suite of on-line benchmarking tools. Since receiving a PhD from Queen’s University he has worked at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute and is currently Programme Leader for Sustainable Livestock Production.

While taking on this position as Project Manager, Steven will continue to work for AFBI on a reduced hours contract.