Offaly farmers nominated for Bord Bia 'Origin Green' award

Charlie Flynn

Reporter:

Charlie Flynn

Offaly farmers nominated for Bord Bia 'Origin Green' award

Mairead and Pat McLoughlin, dairy farmers from Birr, Co. Offaly have been shortlisted for Bord Bia’s Origin Green Farmer Awards. The biennial awards recognise and reward the exceptional performance being achieved by members of its Sustainable Quality Assurance schemes for beef, horticulture and dairy. These schemes are pivotal to differentiating Irish food products in the global marketplace.

Mairead and Pat, have been nominated in the ‘Small-Medium Herd’ category at the awards. Mairead took over the management of the farm from her father in 2012 and runs the farm alongside her husband Pat. The McLoughlins milk 56 cows and supply Lakeland co-op.

Their farm, along with the 38 other participating farms, meet high standards around hygiene, farm safety, traceability, animal welfare, remedy use and commitment to their locality. The overall category winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at The Heritage Hotel, Killenard, Co. Laois on Wednesday 12th December.

With the Origin Green programme, Ireland is the first country in the world to audit and carbon footprint its livestock farms, currently at a rate of 650 a week, under what is in effect a national programme providing measurement and feedback to farmers for continuous improvement in how they farm sustainably. The results represent a unique selling point for Irish food exports, proving that farmers are operating with due care for the surrounding environment, resulting in a low *carbon footprint.

Chief Executive of Bord Bia Tara McCarthy paid tribute to the achievements of all the finalists, saying: “The farmers chosen as finalists for these awards are already regarded by the industry as being among the very best. Their commitment to sustainable production through the Origin Green programme and willingness to have their achievements judged by a panel of experts shows their ambition to be the best and to make the Irish food and drink industry a world leader.”

She added: “These are the farmers Bord Bia will be looking to when we are demonstrating to food buyers the solid foundations on which the Irish food and drink industry has been built and why it is sustainable into the future.”

Selection Process
The beef and dairy finalists were visited over recent weeks by the judges from Bord Bia, Teagasc and the Farmers Journal who were impressed with the practices being adopted to raise efficiency and profitability. These include measures to improve animal performance, herd health and fertility, while controlling inputs such as concentrate feed and fertilizer.

The 39 beef, horticulture and dairy finalists (listed below) represent the most efficient farmers in the country, producing what the market demands in a sustainable manner. The overall category winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday, 12th December 2018.