Kieran Dooley, a farmer from Tullamore, has been nominated for the first-ever Bord Bia Origin Green Farmer Awards, putting him among the most efficient farmers in the country.
Origin Green is the world’s first national programme to address climate change and the broader sustainability challenges in food and agriculture. Bord Bia is inaugurating the Farmer Awards this year to the exceptional performance being achieved by members of Bord Bia’s Beef and Dairy Sustainability Assurance Schemes, which are pivotal to differentiating Irish food and drink in the global marketplace.
Nominated in the Weanling to Store/Beef category, Kieran Dooley manages an intensive finishing farm with his brother Brian and son Joe. The enterprise sources well-bred continental bulls and some heifers, mostly directly from suckler farms. Lighter cattle are bought in Spring for grazing, and strong bulls in Autumn for finishing. All the farms’ finishing pens include access to a bedded area and impressive handling facilities. The enterprise is also noted for exceptional feeding management. Fresh feed is offered morning and evening, with a diet of maize, beet, cereals and potato by-product. Bulls consistently achieve a weight gain of 2kg per day.
Speaking on the opening day of this year’s National Ploughing Championship, Bord Bia Chief Executive Aidan Cotter said, “The Origin Green programme, and our industry’s proactive approach to sustainability, sets us apart from our international competitors while also ensuring Ireland is showing leadership in response to one of the most significant challenges facing the world today. As our €11 billion export-led industry grows to meet the ambitious targets set out in Food Wise 2025, now more challenging in a post-Brexit environment, Ireland’s capacity to demonstrate its green credentials will prove critical."
Ireland is also the first country in the world to audit and carbon footprint its farms on a national scale, currently at a rate of 650 a week.
Mr. Cotter went on, “It is important for Bord Bia to acknowledge, celebrate and showcase best practice, efficient farmers who continue to lead by example. In what is a difficult year for farm incomes, lowering the farm’s Carbon Footprint through efficiency gains will not only reduce production cost and improve on-farm profitability, but will also enhance returns from the marketplace.”
A total of 28 beef and dairy finalists (listed below) have been shortlisted for the Awards. These producers exemplify an environmentally conscious approach, producing what the market demands in a natural, sustainable manner. The overall winning producers will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday, 21st October 2016.