Bord Bia is supporting Irish farmers to enhance the sustainability of their farms with online training. The Farm Sustainability Learning Hub is freely available to members of the Sustainable Assurance Schemes for beef, lamb, dairy, pigmeat and horticulture.
In conjunction with the Farmer Feedback Report, the learning hub will help to raise awareness of best practice in farm sustainability, ensuring that farmers are equipped to play their part in reducing agricultural emissions.
Four modules are currently available:
- An Introduction to Farmland Biodiversity;
- An Introduction to Greenhouse Gases;
- Greenhouse Gases: The Teagasc Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC);
- Responsible Use of Antibiotics.
The catalogue of modules will continue to grow over time, with a further two modules covering soil health and water quality currently in development. All modules are optional and can be completed in 30 minutes or less.
This article sets out what to expect from each of the modules, including how to get started in three steps:
Visit farm.bordbia.ie and click on Farm Sustainability Learning Hub. You will be asked to enter your herd number and the pin number you received at your last audit. If you do not know this, there is a ‘forgot pin’ option that will text the pin to your mobile phone.
You will be taken to the dashboard of the Farm Sustainability Learning Hub. This page will display the courses you have enrolled in and completed.
You can choose which course to begin by clicking the green tab (click here to view courses) or the top left red tab to toggle from dashboard to catalogue. You’ll be shown the list of course and can begin them immediately.
You can exit and resume at any stages during the course and your progress will be saved (be sure to click ‘save and exit’ in the top right corner).
Each module includes a mixture of videos, interactive slides, and questions to test your learning. For accessibility, closed caption subtitles are available for every video.
At each stage there is a help button to show you how to navigate between slides. You can move forward or back through each slide using ‘next’ or ‘previous’, or by clicking the menu button to move between chapters in the module.
When you get to the end of the module, you are given a completion rate. If this is less than 100% you may have missed videos or slides. You can navigate back through the slides or save and exit to return to the course later. You must complete at least 80% to mark completion.
An Introduction to Farmland Biodiversity
The course covers the basics of farmland biodiversity across three topics:
- The importance of farmland biodiversity to agriculture;
- How invasive alien species can affect farmland;
- How farmers can enhance their farmland’s biodiversity using the four key pillars: retain; maintain; rejuvenate; and create.
At the end of the course, you can opt to evaluate the biodiversity on your own farm by downloading the Home Farm Improvement template. The next steps section at the end of the course, provides links to further resources to learn more about farmland biodiversity.
This module takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.
An Introduction to Greenhouse Gases
This is a short (10 minutes) course, which tests your knowledge on greenhouse gases (GHG).
By the end of the course you will know:
- The main sources of GHG from agriculture;
- Which greenhouse gases have the greatest global warming potential;
- How ammonia affects GHGs.
The module begins by setting out some common opinions about greenhouse gases. You’ll then reach the overview slide where you will click the box on the left: ‘Introduction to Greenhouses Gases’.
Short quizzes will ask you to identify the main sources of GHG from agriculture and the gases with the greatest global warming potential.
The final section covers ammonia.
Although this is an air pollutant and not a GHG, it contributes indirectly to greenhouse gas emissions.
Finally, the modules ends with links to further resources, including a link to Signpost programme webinars.
Greenhouse Gases: The Teagasc Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC)
This course sets out how the recommendations in the Teagasc Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (the MACC) can reduce your GHGs in a cost effective manner.
This module will cover:
- An introduction to the Teagasc MACC;
- How to interpret the MACC graphs (make sure to watch the explainer video);
- The measures with the greatest potential to reduce GHG emissions;
- How to choose measures that achieve the greatest GHG reduction at minimal cost.
After explaining the MACC and how to interpret it, the module then looks at the agricultural and land use MACC measures that can reduce GHGs. Agricultural measures include fertiliser type, low emission slurry spreading (LESS), animal health, and clover. Land use measures include pasture management, forestry, and cover crops.
The next steps section provides further information, such as accessing funding to implement certain MACC measures.
Responsible Use of Antibiotics
This module addresses the issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This is a global problem, primarily for humans but one that also affects animals.
There are two main topics in this module: topic one covers what AMR is, how it relates to antibiotic use on farms, and the global ‘One Health’ approach.
The second topic covers preventative measures that farmers can do in order to combat AMR. This includes the six Rs of disease treatment: right veterinary diagnosis; right animal; right veterinary medicine; right dose; right duration; right storage and disposal.
This module takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. On successful completion of this module, you’ll receive a certificate, which you can download.
The next steps
Once you have completed each course you are invited to review and leave comments or recommendations. You feedback is appreciated.
Click here, to begin your sustainability learning.