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Bord Bia Awards ‘Green Heroes’

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD today (Wednesday) announced the winners of the inaugural Sustainable Quality Beef Producer Awards at the National Ploughing Championships, taking place in New Ross, Co. Wexford. Organised by Bord Bia, in conjunction with the Irish Farmers Journal and Teagasc, the Awards aim to highlight the link between environmental sustainability and efficient beef production at farm level. In total, twelve farmers were shortlisted based on their sustainability credentials with regard to carbon footprint, biodiversity and water management.

The four overall category winners were as follows:

  • Suckler to Beef Production – David Kinsella from New Ross, Co. Wexford
  • Suckler to Weanling/Store Production – Raymond Palmer, Castlefinn, Co.Donegal
  • Weanling/Store to Beef Production – Richard Bournes, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway
  • Dairy Calf to Beef Production – Michael Murphy from Nenagh, Co. Tipperary

Since May 2011, over 30,000 members (94%) of Bord Bia’s Beef Quality Assurance Scheme have participated in a sustainability survey as part of their regular farm audit. Ireland is the first country to assess the environmental performance of farms on a national scale. The audit results provide a unique selling point for Irish beef in key export markets, proving that our animals are raised with due care for the surrounding environment, and consequently have a low carbon footprint. From a farmer’s perspective, reducing carbon footprint improves efficiency and thereby enhances profitability.

Over the past few weeks, a panel of judges representing Bord Bia, the Irish Farmers Journal and Teagasc visited each of the twelve shortlisted farms. The four overall category winners are among the top performers surveyed by Bord Bia, each of them efficiently producing prime cattle at a suitable specification for our major export markets.

Speaking at the presentation of the Awards, Minister Coveney said “Today, we have honoured twelve ‘Green Heroes’, farmers who practice what we preach and people who will play a key role in helping the Irish food industry work towards its ambitious export targets. Sustainably produced food is what differentiates Ireland in a very competitive and volatile global marketplace. It is imperative that we maintain the measurement, and continuous improvement, of our sustainable production and to recognize best practice through Awards such as these presented here today.”