Kenneth Graham, a farmer from Mountrath, has been nominated for the first-ever Bord Bia Origin Green Farmer Awards, putting him among the most efficient farmers in the country.
Origin Green is the world’s first national programme to address climate change and the broader sustainability challenges in food and agriculture.
Bord Bia is inaugurating the Farmer Awards this year to the exceptional performance being achieved by members of Bord Bia’s Beef and Dairy Sustainability Assurance Schemes, which are pivotal to differentiating Irish food and drink in the global marketplace.
Nominated in the Suckler to Weanling/Store category, Kenneth Graham manages a 40-hectare suckler unit, with 53 limousin-cross cows calving from January to March.
His herd has an average calving interval of 364 days, producing 1.02 calves per cow per year.
The enterprise practices extended grazing, with all silage taken from surplus paddocks.
Animals are regularly weighed, and sold as strong stores at 15 to 16 months.
Speaking on the opening day of this year’s National Ploughing Championship, Bord Bia Chief Executive Aidan Cotter said,
“The Origin Green programme, and our industry’s proactive approach to sustainability, sets us apart from our international competitors while also ensuring Ireland is showing leadership in response to one of the most significant challenges facing the world today.
“As our €11 billion export-led industry grows to meet the ambitious targets set out in Food Wise 2025, now more challenging in a post-Brexit environment, Ireland’s capacity to demonstrate its green credentials will prove critical”.
Ireland is also the first country in the world to audit and carbon footprint its farms on a national scale, currently at a rate of 650 a week.
Mr. Cotter went on, “It is important for Bord Bia to acknowledge, celebrate and showcase best practice, efficient farmers who continue to lead by example.
In what is a difficult year for farm incomes, lowering the farm’s Carbon Footprint through efficiency gains will not only reduce production cost and improve on-farm profitability, but will also enhance returns from the marketplace”.
A total of 28 beef and dairy finalists (listed below) have been shortlisted for the Awards.
These producers exemplify an environmentally conscious approach, producing what the market demands in a natural, sustainable manner.
The overall winning producers will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday, October 21.