Smart Farming will begin its 2019 work activities at its spring seminar, by focusing on ways to improve farm returns and enhance the rural environment.
The Department of Agriculture Knowledge Transfer approved seminar will take place on April 30th in Midlands Park Hotel (formerly Heritage Hotel), Portlaoise.
Launching the programme, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton said: “The Smart Farming programme is a great example of how agriculture can take the lead on sustainability, showing how careful management of resources can reap both financial and environmental rewards for farmers. In 2018, the average farm saved €7,170 while reducing their emissions by 9%. That is a fantastic result for the individual farmer and I encourage all those interested to get involved and see how they too could benefit from these improved practices”.
IFA President Joe Healy said: “I am encouraged by the growing numbers of farmers who want to take part in the Smart Farming programme and share cost savings and environmental improvements with their neighbours. Farmers face increasing environmental asks and the collaborative approach of Smart Farming is a great way to identify cost reductions on farms, while enhancing the rural environment.”
EPA Director General Laura Burke added: “Increased greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture present a clear challenge representing around one third of our total national emissions. The approaches and innovations identified in Smart Farming demonstrate that energy efficiency gains and reduced emissions are achievable on the participating farms. The future success of this ambitious programme will be to mainstream implementation of these measures through wide and willing take-up by the farming community.”
The Spring seminar will be addressed by farmers and presenters from the Department of Agriculture, UCD, Teagasc and the BRIDE project in Cork. They will set out how farmers can: access the Department of Agriculture’s €10m on-farm renewables fund; focus on grass growth and alternative enterprise systems, such as once a day milking and mixed farming of cattle and trees; find out about the important role of crude protein in animals’ diets. In addition Professor Patrick Wall from UCD will outline how important it is for all the stakeholders along the food chain to address consumer concerns regarding sustainability and the need to be aware of the attributes of sustainability that consumers consider important.