A mother and daughter farming in Co. Kilkenny have been awarded a €1,000 grant in recognition of their use of technology to lower their carbon footprint.

Goresbridge-based farmers Joanne Cushen and her mother, Bridget, were presented with the award from the Rise Community Fund following their efforts to embrace new advances in biodiversity and sustainable farming.

The RISE Community Fund is supported by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) and Granahan McCourt.

In partnership with Macra, the fund ran a national competition to find entrepreneurial young farmers with plans to use technology in innovative ways to enhance their business.


Joanne and Bridget Cushen run a fixed family farm enterprise, which includes dairy; suckler; calf to beef; sheep; tillage and forestry.

Joanne impressed the judges with her desire to use technology to improve efficiencies and lower the carbon footprint of their various operations.

“Our aim with the family farm is to produce high quality produce from all of our animals in a sustainable way, utilising all available technologies and new research.

“We have a keen interest in biodiversity and sustainable agriculture and try to be quick to embrace new technology to reduce our labour input and carbon footprint,” Joanne said.

Niall Beirne, National Broadband Ireland (NBI), Joanne and Bridget Cushen and Alexandra McCourt, RISE Global Foundation

The farmers are planning to use their grant to help cover some of the cost of a health monitoring system for their suckler weanlings.

“This system will provide us with 24-hour information about the animals, which spend their time grazing on parts of the farm that are about 900 feet above sea level.

“The remote monitoring technology means we will only have to commute to this part of the farm once a day, which frees up valuable time to expand other areas of the business,” Joanne added.

David McCourt, technology entrepreneur, founder of RISE and chair of NBI, said: “Joanne is a fantastic example of a young farmer who is incredibly proactive in looking for ways to use technology to improve the operations of their family farm.

“By combining technology with her entrepreneurial mindset, she’s not only making the farm more efficient, but also driving real environmental benefits which will make the farm more sustainable,” he added.