Dairy Discussion Group Innovation Competition Launches for Second Year
'Finding innovative solutions to farm challenges'
ACCBank, ICBF, Teagasc and the Irish Farmers Journal announced today the opening of the Dairy Discussion Group Competition 2013. The competition, now in its second year, was launched with the objective of stimulating discussion among dairy discussion groups to allow for the development of the stronger bonds between members; and to encourage dairy discussion groups to develop profit or lifestyle based innovations for widespread farm adoption.
The competition, with an ACCBank sponsored fund of up to €20,000, will encourage and reward dairy discussion groups who engage in specified projects in 2013. The competition is open to all discussion groups.
Submissions in 2013 will be accepted in the areas of new process development, tailored training/knowledge transfer project, group adoption of research proven practice, software development, study trip or other innovative projects.
Last year’s projects covered topics ranging from health and safety, genomic testing for female fertility, labour efficiency and stress in the farming community.
Brendan McGarry, of the winning West Offaly Discussion Group said: “Our discussion group benefited hugely from participating in the competition. Apart from delivering the actual project, it gave us a great focus and definitely improved the bond between members of our group, as well as providing some unexpected benefits, such as improving our IT skills.”
The farmers that participated in 2012 devised projects of great relevance and creativity and this has been reflected in recognition gained from several third parties. The 2012 winning entry ‘Operation Lifesaver’ was separately nominated and subsequently won a European Good Practice Award in ‘Working together for risk prevention’. In addition, the Navan Discussion Group’s entry that dealt with Mental Health and stress among dairy farmers, will be featured in RTE’s ‘Ear to the Ground’ on Thursday 14th February.
Jim Moyles, the Teagasc dairy advisor that facilitated the West Offaly Group said: “The competition provided extra motivation to achieve best practice and improve knowledge exchange within discussion groups and from one group to another.”
In addition to the main innovation competition, a set of project packs have been compiled for use by discussion groups. These packs are based on last year’s projects. Groups that do not wish to devise a completely new project from scratch, but rather adopt some of the great ideas that have already been developed, can complete one of these project packs.