Bord Bia is teaming up with the main farm organisations - including ICMSA and the IFA - over the coming months to support farmers preparing for on-farm audits in the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS).
This follows the roll-out last year of an e-learning portal which provides dairy farmers with the key points to address when preparing for these audits, which are a vital component of Ireland's national food sustainability programme Origin Green.
Origin Green Helpdesk personnel will be on hand before and after local farm organisation meetings to address individual farmer enquiries around SDAS. The meetings, which began with the ICMSA earlier this month, will continue into early next year before calving starts. Bord Bia will also be involved in IFA meetings in the New Year.
ICMSA President Pat McCormack welcomed the participation of Bord Bia at local meetings: "Based on queries and concerns from members, ICMSA is happy to host Bord Bia at our local meetings in the coming months. This provides an opportunity to our members to engage directly with Bord Bia at a personal level and set out their questions and concerns in relation to Bord Bia audits and SDAS. It is something that ICMSA feel will benefit both our members and Bord Bia in the long term and would encourage as many of our members to attend and engage as possible."
Mick Houlihan, Manager of Bord Bia's Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme, said Bord Bia was grateful for the opportunity to participate at the regional meetings: "Working directly with farm organisations and engaging face-to-face at farm walks and local meetings gives us a great opportunity to explain to dairy farmers how the success of SDAS and Origin Green is making an impact in growing Irish food and drink exports. We are taking every opportunity to support farmers make a success of their membership of SDAS, through meetings like these, farm walks, helpdesk support and our e-learning portal."
At farm level Bord Bia’s Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS) is providing the assurance to food buyers that the dairy products they purchase meet Ireland's claims around quality and sustainability and are helping to win a premium position on retail shelves. This independently audited scheme was developed in partnership with producers, processors and government and is positively impacting on how Bord Bia markets and promotes Irish dairy exports.