Teagasc and Glanbia Ingredients Ireland announced details on the new Kildalton Open Source Sustainable Farm initiative at the National Dairy Conference in the Red Cow hotel this week.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD joined the leaders of GII and Teagasc, Jim Bergin and Prof Gerry Boyle, to announce details of the new initiative. Ireland is already recognised globally as a leading proponent of sustainable farming.
The Kildalton Open Source Sustainable Farm initiative will measure success across four key pillars with economic sustainability underpinning all: Resource use efficiency - Water, Energy and Nutrients; Land Management to maintain and develop biodiversity; Animal Welfare and Health & Safety. Progress in each of these important areas will be benchmarked globally and measured against target on an annualised basis. The farm will be used to demonstrate best practices which will ensure sustainable farming systems into the future.
The first development by the Kildalton Open Source Sustainable Farm is testing the application of a number of useful tools for farmers such as The Carbon Navigator - an on-line system which supports farmers and their advisers in reducing the carbon intensity of dairy or beef farms.
Kildalton College is situated in the village of Piltown, Co Kilkenny in the picturesque Suir valley. It is the largest agricultural college in the country operated by Teagasc and a leading provider of training in Equine Studies, Machinery, Agriculture and Horticulture.
Glanbia Ingredients Ireland has prioritised sustainability as a key focus for its business with the introduction of its Open Source® sustainability and quality assurance programme launched earlier this year, whereby all 4,500 farmer suppliers will be audited to comply with core sustainability benchmarks. This dedication to a sustainable agenda has been rewarded recently. Glanbia Ingredients Ireland won first prize for ‘Best Business to Business Partnership’ at the annual Responsible Business Awards ceremony in London for the ‘Sustainable Cream initiative’ in collaboration with Diageo for Baileys Cream Liqueur.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative, Minister Simon Coveney said: “I wish to acknowledge this leadership initiative by Glanbia Ingredients and Teagasc. Ireland is already recognised globally as a leading proponent of sustainable farming, and today’s announcement will ensure that our next generation of farmers are at the cutting edge of developing and utilising new and emerging practices to secure Ireland’s leadership position in this area.”
Jim Bergin, CEO of Glanbia Ingredients Ireland, said: “We are delighted to announce the Open Source Sustainable Farm Initiative today with Teagasc. GII has made considerable strides in realising our comparative advantages in sustainability. Sustainable principles are at the heart of what makes us different on the global dairy stage and it’s a strategic imperative for us to drive future development and growth in this area. Through this new partnership with Teagasc we are confident that we can bring real learnings and efficiencies from sustainable farming thus ensuring it is relevant to our farmer suppliers.”
Teagasc Director Professor Gerry Boyle said: “Irish agriculture is demonstrating its environmental sustainability. The Kildalton Open Source farm, with support from Glanbia Ingredients Ireland, will showcase best practices in producing food in a sustainable way, not just to the next generation of farmers but also to the consumers of Irish food products both at home and on international markets.”
This new programme is the eighth in a series of joint initiatives between the two organisations stretching back to the early 1990’s. Earlier this month Teagasc and GII launched a new Joint Farm Development Programme designed to assist participating GII dairy farmers to achieve profitable and sustainable expansion in the post-quota era.