Raphoe based farmer, William Morrow was honoured at the Origin Green Beef Sustainability Awards which took place at the National Ploughing Championships, in Ratheniska, Co. Laois.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, TD, presented the beef farmers with awards in recognition of their exemplary role in sustainable beef production.
Twelve farms demonstrating strong sustainability credentials with regard to carbon footprint, biodiversity and water management were shortlisted for the awards. William, who runs a dairy calf to beef enterprise on 148 acres, won the overall category award for his Dairy Calf to Beef production practices.
The awards were organised by Bord Bia, in conjunction with the Irish Farmers Journal and Teagasc. The shortlisted farmers were selected from the membership of Bord Bia’s Quality Assurance Scheme, which includes over 43,000 beef farms. The final winners were decided following farm visits by the judging panel including representatives from Bord Bia, the Irish Farmers Journal and Teagasc. The three remaining category winners were as follows:
· Suckler to beef category: Jonathan Greene, Levitstown, Maganey, Athy, Co. Kildare
· Suckler to weanling/store category: Tim Joyce, Ballinvoher, Turloughmore, Co. Galway
· Weanling/store to beef category: Pat Murray, Pallas, Gorey, Co. Wexford
An additional Merit Award was presented to John Kinsella, Garrycullen, Saltmills, New Ross, Co. Wexford, to acknowledge exceptional performance in meeting the criteria set out under Bord Bia’s Quality Assurance Scheme.
Speaking at the presentation of the awards, Minister Coveney said, “The Irish food industry has identified sustainability as a strong point of differentiation on the global market, a vision which is being articulated through the Origin Green brand. Credible, measurable proof points are crucial however, and our beef farmers are at the forefront in helping our food industry to achieve this ambitious plan. These awards acknowledge those farmers who are leading the way by highlighting the link between environmental sustainability and efficient beef production at farm level.”
The twelve shortlisted producers will be hosted on a 3-day beef study tour to France in 2015. Each of the category winners also received a set of farm weighing scales for their cattle handling facilities. This is a useful tool to monitor livestock performance and help make management decisions concerning feeding strategy and selection for sale.
About Origin Green
In 2012, Bord Bia introduced the industry-wide, sustainability programme, ‘Origin Green’ which sees food and drink manufacturers develop a sustainable plan that sets out clear targets in key areas such as emissions, energy, waste, water, biodiversity and CSR activities. This programme, which is a world first, will see each farm and food business on a journey that is certifiable and audited on an 18-month cycle and independently assessed annually. In the beef sector, a key aspect of Origin Green is the sustainability survey that producers undertake at the time of their Quality Assurance audit. As well as providing a unique selling point for Irish beef, the feedback information from these surveys can help to further improve the farms’ efficiency. For further information visit www.origingreen.ie.