Ireland’s most sustainable farmers honoured by Bord Bia

Bord Bia honoured Ireland’s most sustainable, efficient and environmentally-friendly family farms at the Origin Green Farmer Awards in Killenard, Co. Laois this evening (Wednesday, December 12).

Over 240 farmers and senior representatives from farming organisations and the agri-food industry gathered to celebrate the achievements of the 39 finalists, drawn from the dairy, beef and horticulture sectors across the country.

A total of 11 category winners were announced on the night following a rigorous process that included on-farm judging by teams from Bord Bia and Teagasc among others.

Dairy:
  • Small/med herd – Mairead and Pat McLoughlin, Lakeland Co-op, Rath, Co. Offaly;
  • Reduced carbon footprint – Trevor Crowley, Dairygold Co-op, Lissarda, Co. Cork;
  • Large herd – Shane and Dermot O’Loughlin, Glanbia, Oghill, Co. Kildare.

Horticulture:

  • Mushrooms – Reilly Mushrooms, Athlone, Co. Westmeath;
  • Protected crops and fruit – Flynn’s Tomatoes, Bealinstown, Swords, Co. Dublin;
  • Potatoes – Kilmore Potatoes, Ballyhealy, Kilmore, Co. Wexford;
  • Field vegetables – John B Dockrell, Screen, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford;

Beef:

  • Suckler-to-beef – Noel Farrell, Golden, Cashel, Co. Tipperary;
  • Suckler to weanling/store production – Nicholas Bergin, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary;
  • Weanling/store to beef production – David Auchmuty, Ballygalda, Co. Roscommon;
  • Dairy calf-to-beef production – Derek and Gareth Peoples, Carrigans, Co. Donegal.

Opening the awards ceremony Bord Bia’s chairperson Dan MacSweeney highlighted the importance of sustainable food production to the future of Irish farming and rural economies.

“In addition to supporting on-farm sustainability efforts, Origin Green supports our marketing and sales efforts, playing a key role in helping us meet the ambitious targets of Food Wise 2025, which see our food and drink exports grow to €19 billion annually by the middle of the next decade.

This isn’t just a win for industry; it translates into more value coming back to the rural economy right across Ireland, as growth in sustainably-produced food and drink delivers jobs and activity to local communities now and in the future.

Presenting the awards Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy, paid tribute to the achievements of all the finalists.

She said: “The pursuit of excellence by Origin Green farmers is at the heart of the Irish food and drink industry’s export success in a challenging, consumer-driven trading environment.

“Bord Bia highlights these family farms to food buyers who are looking for living examples of the highest values in Irish food production.

“When they visit these farms they see the commitment to protecting the land and its environment for future generations of food producers and consumers.

Tonight’s finalists are producing beef with a 40% lower carbon footprint than the average producer and producing milk with a 16% lower carbon impact.

“These are the solid proof points that impress international customers who are seeking solutions to their consumers’ demands for more sustainably produced food.”

All finalists will be invited by Bord Bia to participate in an organised visit to an overseas market to see how Bord Bia uses their achievements in sustainability to win new business.