In response to both demands from the market and obligations under the Climate Action Plan, Bord Bia has developed a range of farm sustainability supports to ensure farmers are equipped to play their part in responding to climate change.

In this article Mick Houlihan, senior manager, agricultural sustainability with Bord Bia, outlines some of the supports available to beef, sheep, and dairy farmer members, including the Farmer Feedback Report, the Farm Sustainability Learning Hub and a new tool currently in development.

New farm planning tool

A new farm sustainability planning tool is in development for members of the Bord Bia sustainable assurance schemes for beef, lamb, and dairy.

In collaboration with Teagasc, Bord Bia is developing a free-to-use online resource where farmers and advisors can create farm-specific sustainability plans.

The platform will recommend sustainability actions that reflect current best-practice industry guidelines (e.g. the Teagasc Marginal Abatement Cost Curve), which farmers can add to their farm plans. The tool will be piloted as the year progresses and will be optional.  

Improvements to the sustainability survey

As part of the Bord Bia audit, farmers must complete a sustainability survey, in which they report on-farm management activity.

In March, Bord Bia updated the survey to make it more user-friendly. Changes include an expanded list of fertiliser options and a condensed section on housing and turnout.

As well as making the process of completing the survey more streamlined, the new survey captures more precise data leading to more accurate reporting, reflective of what’s happening on-farm.

The survey should be completed before the audit using the online portal at The online version is now more intuitive with improved functionality.

Alternatively, farmers can contact the Bord Bia Helpdesk on: 01 524 0410, (Monday to Friday, 9:00a.m to 8:00p.m) to complete over the phone.

Farmer Feedback Report

The sustainability survey is used in conjunction with data from AIMs, Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) (for beef farms), and milk production data (for dairy farms), to generate a Farmer Feedback Report.

The Farmer Feedback Report is designed to be used as a farm management tool and includes the following information:

  • Your farm’s carbon footprint;
  • Your farm’s grass-fed calculation;
  • The percentage share of farm carbon emissions as a result of different farm activities;
  • Advice on how to reduce farm emissions;
  • Graphs and tables summarising farm management activity.

When completing the sustainability survey, it is important that the information provided is accurate and complete to obtain an accurate Farmer Feedback Report with a correct carbon footprint and grass-fed calculation.

Lamb sustainability survey

Sheep farms must also complete a new Lamb Sustainability Survey, which will be used to gather the data necessary to calculate the carbon footprint of Irish sheep farms for the first time.

Sheep farms will receive Farmer Feedback Reports from next year, once sufficient data is available.

Bord Bia audit

Online learning

Over 2000 farm scheme members have registered for the Farm Sustainability Learning Hub since its launch last October. Seven modules are currently available covering topics such as water quality, soil health, energy efficiency, farmland biodiversity, and greenhouse gases.

All modules are freely available to members of Bord Bia’s schemes for dairy, beef, lamb, pigmeat, and horticulture.

To enroll, visit,

What’s on?

Beef 2022 – Supporting Sustainable Beef Farming

Come visit Bord Bia in the Meat Quality village (village six) of Beef 2022 on Tuesday, July 5, at Teagasc Grange, Co. Meath.

Bord Bia will provide an outlook for beef markets over the rest of this year and into 2023 and will also talk about how Bord Bia markets the strengths of Irish beef farming to develop higher value and volume markets.

Bord Bia’s Quality Assurance team will be on hand to answer any questions on the Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme and the role of farmer members in building market advantage from Origin Green.

Farming for Nature Farm walks

Farming for Nature is an initiative that seeks to support farmers who farm, or wish to farm, in a way that will improve the natural health of our countryside.

The annual Farming for Nature Ambassador Awards, supported by Bord Bia, recognises farmers across Ireland who manage their land in a way that sustains nature while providing a livelihood for their family.

This summer, Farming for Nature Ambassadors from around the country will host farm walks to showcase their contribution to nature and good farming practices. The walks present an opportunity to meet likeminded farmers and to gain an insight into the ways that farmers can incorporate, protect and enhance nature on their land.

Click here for the full schedule.

Booking is required, plus a fee of €10. All funds are circulated back into the farming community.