Energy in Agriculture conference gets set to ‘arm farmers with knowledge’

Energy is part of the Irish agriculture story and while it’s never going to be the only income from a farm, if farmers could get a wind turbine on the land or focus on roofed-based solar energy in industrial and agricultural buildings, then a huge leap of faith will have been taken.

These were the sentiments expressed by Paul Kenny, chief executive of the Tipperary Energy Agency – one of the partners in the Energy in Agriculture conference – which is taking place tomorrow, Tuesday, August 20, in Co. Tipperary.

The event will be held in Gurteen Agriculture College and is a joint initiative between Teagasc, Tipperary County Council, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Tipperary Energy Agency and Gurteen Agricultural College.

‘Knowledge is power’

Kenny, meanwhile, pointed to the Energy in Agriculture conference and how its aim is to arm farmers with the knowledge on how to buy the right equipment, materials, etc – what to get involved in, what to wait for and what not to wait for.

It’s all about knowledge…knowledge is key to change.

He continued: “If we look at bioenergy it is about a supply and demand chain. Therefore, everything has to be local and together – so there is no point in putting a pile of crop into the ground if there is no market there.

“Then at the same time a person can’t put in a boiler unless they have a supply chain.

“So, what needs to happen is, farmers must be signed up to producing what is needed.

Also Read: ‘Energy is a part of the whole Irish agriculture story’

“It’s a symbiotic relationship really – if a farmer plants a crop in two years’ time, say, and all his neighbours do the same thing well then all of sudden there could be 20,000t of crop – but is the market there for all of that?

“So the importance of knowing and understanding market demand and the supply chain is absolutely vital to making all of this work.”

Insights and opportunities

Meanwhile, speakers at tomorrow’s conference will give insights on “real opportunities” to make financial savings and reduce energy consumption on the farm, according to Teagasc.

Outdoor demonstrations will also be a feature during proceedings.             

The conference is free to attend, and farmers will receive advice on renewable energy project development, as well as hearing from those who have been successful in incorporating renewable energy on their farms.