Agri Aware has launched a series of ‘Follow the Farmer’ videos, to communicate the reformed CAP to farmers and the general public.

The videos are part of a campaign, by Agri Aware, to communicate the many benefits of the reformed CAP to the general public, and farmers, across Ireland.

First to feature in the videos is Dairy farmer Andrew Gow, of Glenstal Farm, Co. Limerick.

He highlighted that: “The Common Agricultural Policy is about sustaining agriculture for the long term in Ireland. It is about continuing this lush green landscape that we have, making it sustainable and making it an amenity that tourists want to come to Ireland to visits and see.”

“It’s all about food and how it is produced in an environmentally sustainable way.”

According to Gow: “The abolition of the milk quotas next year is going to be a huge opportunity us here, dairy farming and the economy nationally. We have a lot of potential to expand our production and we are being artificially held back at present.”

Gow stressed that the CAP is vital for the survival of rural Ireland. He said: “When that money is invested from Europe and nationally it goes back into the local economy and it helps to sustain livelihoods and economic activity in the locality. I have seen in parts of the world where that has not been the case and the countryside has been emptied of people.

As part of the campaign ‘Follow the Farmer’ meets four farmers, from the dairy, beef, sheep and tillage sectors, and were filmed during the farming year.

The four farmers were filmed as they go about their day’s work and the public will be able to see how quality Irish food is produced in a sustainable way, and how the farmers care for their animals and the Irish countryside. The videos will explore, through the use of real-life examples, how the reformed CAP benefits everyone, from towns, cities and the countryside.

Farmers will get a chance to see in a practical way the impact of the reformed CAP on Irish farming, and how Irish farmers are adapting to the changes it brings.

Agri Aware’s ‘Follow the Farmer’ reformed CAP communication campaign, co-financed by the EU Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development, was awarded to Agri Aware following a competitive bidding process.

Speaking at the launch Minister Simon Coveney said: “The reformed CAP has huge benefits for everyone right across the country in terms of food traceability, quality and affordability, the protection of our environment and the maintenance of our rural communities and economies. I am delighted that Agri Aware has won their bid to the European Commission to communicate the reformed CAP to the general public using interactive and creative ideas. The reformed CAP brings many changes for Irish farmers and it is important that the farming community is informed of these in a clear and engaging way. By watching Agri Aware’s ‘Follow the Farmer’ videos, urban and rural consumers of all ages can learn more about the importance of Irish agriculture and the reformed CAP.”

Agri Aware’s Chairman, Bernard Donohue said: “Agri Aware is delivering an interactive and relevant educational campaign to connect consumers with the reformed CAP. The reformed CAP ensures that people and their families have guaranteed access to quality, safe, affordable and sustainably produced food that is grown under the highest animal welfare and environmental standards. Irish farmers are custodians of the landscape, providing amenity value to the Irish population, in addition to playing a key role in attracting tourists to Ireland. CAP is good for farmers, food and consumers of all ages, from towns, cities and the countryside.”

According to Executive Director of Agri Aware, Dr. Vanessa Woods Agri Aware is communicating the reformed CAP to urban and rural people, across Ireland until next April. She said the campaign encompasses numerous novel methods of communication to engage everyone in CAP. We are communicating this complex policy in a simple, effective way, she said.