AgriSearch (The Northern Ireland Agricultural Research and Development Council) is looking to recruit a small number of innovative dairy farmers as “pilot farms” for an exciting new European project.
EuroDairy is a network being initiated to increase the economic, social and environmental sustainability of dairy farming in Europe, at a time of unprecedented challenge for the sector.
Funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme, EuroDairy will foster the development and dissemination of practice-based innovations in dairy farming, targeting key sustainability issues following the abolition of milk quotas: socio economic resilience, resource efficiency, animal care, and the integration of milk production with biodiversity objectives.
EuroDairy spans 14 countries, from Ireland to Poland, and from Sweden to Italy, encompassing 40% of dairy farmers, 45% of cows and 60% of European milk output.
EuroDairy will establish a network of 120 innovating dairy farmers (pilot farms) across Europe to demonstrate best practice, and push boundaries in the application of new knowledge.
AgriSearch is seeking to recruit a small number of Northern Ireland dairy farmers to participate in this European network. Pilot farms should be implementing innovations in one or more of the following areas:
o Resource efficiency
o Animal care
o Socio-economic resilience
Pilot farmers should have:
o Good physical and financial performance
o Good communication skills
o Good record keeping
o Be willing to host farm visits from both local and international farmers
o Be willing to participate in local meetings (including operational groups)
o Be willing to go on an exchange to visit other farmers in Europe
Pilot farmers will be financially benchmarked for two years using the European Dairy Farmers financial comparison system. For this reason, they would particularly welcome applications from farmers who are already participating in the EDF financial comparison programme.
Farmers will also be required to submit additional information (which will depend on the type of innovations they are implementing on their farms).
AgriSearch will be seeking to form farmer-driven ‘Operational Groups’ to target specific problems or opportunities for the dairy sector. The EuroDairy network will link these groups cross-border, so that innovations identified in one country or region, can be shared with another. Pilot farmers should be willing to participate in such operational groups.
Farmers who are interested in applying to become a pilot farmer should download an information pack and application form from the AgriSearch website www.agrisearch.org or request one by contacting Jason Rankin on 028 92681613 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.