Twenty20 Beef Club takes coveted European Award for Cooperative Innovation

A dairy calf-to beef production system that improves economic, social and environmental sustainability has emerged victorious in a European Awards programme for Cooperative Innovation.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 8:36 am
Twenty20 Beef Club L-R Brian Hanafin, Glanbia Ireland; Mick O’Dowd, Kepak; Martin Keane, Glanbia Ireland; Seán Molloy, Glanbia Ireland; Tom Finn, Kepak and Martin Ryan, Glanbia Ireland.
Twenty20 Beef Club L-R Brian Hanafin, Glanbia Ireland; Mick O’Dowd, Kepak; Martin Keane, Glanbia Ireland; Seán Molloy, Glanbia Ireland; Tom Finn, Kepak and Martin Ryan, Glanbia Ireland.

The Twenty20 Beef Club, a partnership between Glanbia Ireland and Kepak Group, has won a coveted European Award for Cooperative Innovation in the international competition organised by Cogeca. It was shortlisted under the ’Economic Value Creation’ category.

The international judging panel, who assessed over 100 entries from across Europe, singled out the Twenty20 Beef Club’s proven credentials and said it represents “an outstanding innovation that creates valuable impact in the value chain”.

They continued to praise the Twenty20 Beef Club adding: “Innovation is about value creation and the way your organisation does it, clearly underlines how the cooperative model is a key tool to respond to the emerging challenges, to shift to more sustainable food systems and to bring further environmental, economic and social benefits.”

Martin Edward and Conor Delahunty and Ross Brady, Glanbia Ireland. Picture: Patrick Browne

Glanbia Ireland Head of Beef, Martin Ryan, said: “Today is a very proud day for my colleagues and I. The Twenty20 Beef Club is a unique development, built on an across sector collaboration with our partner, Kepak. Whilst the award recognises the immense capacity of the Twenty20 Beef Club to generate monetary value for our farmer members, the jury also called out the environmental, economic and social sustainability credentials of the Club. It is both comforting and reassuring to all involved in our value chain to see an EU based independent adjudication panel recognise the Twenty20 Beef Club with this European Innovation Award.”

Mick O’Dowd, Agri Business Manager, Kepak, said: “Kepak is delighted that our work with Glanbia Cooperative has been recognised with this European Innovation Award. The Twenty20 Beef Club is anchored in providing greater financial certainty to farmers for producing beef more sustainably. This award recognises that collaboration across the beef and dairy industry is not only beneficial to the farmer, but to the environment too. As the Club continues to grow, COGECA’s endorsement gives us further confidence that we are on the right track.”

It’s a second win in the international competition for Glanbia Co-op. MilkFlex is a previous winner, taking the Cooperative Innovation award in the same Europe-wide competition in 2017.

The Twenty20 Beef Club has been created to sustainably produce and market Irish heifer and steer beef. A fully traceable input supply chain underpins the Programme and support the establishment of industry leading marketing claims.

Brian Delaney, Kepack. Picture: Patrick Browne

The overriding objective of the Programme is to improve the economic, environmental and social sustainability of calf to beef production in the Republic of Ireland for dairy and beef farmers. Additional value is created by sustainably producing beef, with complete traceability and transparency through:

· Genetics and agri-technologies;

· Leading Animal Health & Welfare;

· Best practice in animal nutrition and grassland management and

· Premium pricing.

The benefits for farmers are numerous and include a substantial price premium for the cattle, predictability of pricing and certainty around their market.

Members are offered technical support to enable them produce or procure animals with higher genetic merit and achieve optimum daily live weight gain during the animal’s life.

To-date the animals processed by the Club are four and a half months younger than the National average for similar livestock, thus reducing their carbon foot print significantly.

Commenting on the outcome of the award, Cogeca President, Ramon Armengol said: “I was truly impressed by the number and the quality of the entries. It was really hard for the Jury members in some categories to make a choice. When I see all these concrete initiatives, I can’t avoid drawing a link with the discussions that are currently taking place at European level. While we are working on a high number of initiatives in the framework of the European Green Deal, European Agri-Cooperatives are already contributing to transforming the food systems and the forestry sector they are operating in. I invite everyone to carefully check what our cooperatives are doing on the ground.”

Because of Covid restrictions, the official ceremony has been postponed for now but is due to take place on Wednesday 1 December 2021 in Brussels.