International agri benchmark conference comes to Galway

The Annual Global Forum Conference of the Agri benchmark Beef and Sheep Network will be held in Galway on Monday, June 18, 2018.

This is the 16th annual conference and it is the first time this international conference will take place in Ireland.

The Global Forum Conference is the main event in a week-long series of activities for the international delegates. The week-long event commences on June 14, with beef workshops and farm visits, and concludes on June 20 with sheep events.

The Thunen Institute, Germany, is coordinating these series of events in conjunction with Teagasc.

The network of participants comprises of over 30 countries internationally, with representatives from as far afield as Australia, Argentina, Brazil, China and the US attending – as well as representatives from most European countries.

It is an “opportune time for this event to take place in Ireland, given the positive perception of grass-fed animals and associated meat quality and promotion programmes”, according to Teagasc.

Dr. Claus Deblitz, deputy director of the Thunen Institute of Farm Economics, Braunschweig, Germany, and coordinator of the Agri benchmark Beef and Sheep Network together with colleagues from the Thunen institute made their initial visit to Ireland in January 2018.

They visited the beef and sheep farms selected for the field trips in June and met with Teagasc colleagues in Mellows Campus, Athenry.

Anne Kinsella, Teagasc economist, is the Irish representative in the network and is the person tasked with organising the series of events on the Irish side.

Commenting on the visit, Kinsella said: “Following the farm visits and meetings Dr. Claus Deblitz and his colleagues were very impressed with the producers selected, their systems and the knowledge applied on the ground.

It is timely for the network to visit Galway as 2018 is also the year in which Galway, West of Ireland, has been designated European Region of Gastronomy (ERoG).

Galway County Council is the lead partner in ERoG, along with Galway City Council, GMIT and Teagasc.

Kinsella is also a Teagasc representative on the ERoG project and she is working to incorporate both her Agri benchmark and ERoG roles, in showcasing to the international participants what the west of Ireland region has to offer, from farm to fork.