background image
OCTOBER 2019
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
Farmer to farmer
OCTOBER 2019
Farmer to farmer
www.irishfarmersmonthly.com
Farmers' good sustainability actions are not always
recognised. However, at the National Ploughing
Championships Richard Bruton, Minister for
Communications, Climate Action and the Environment
awarded Smart Farming the inaugural Sustainable
Development Goals Champions' award for 2019 and
2020. Winning this award was only made possible
because of the technical input and expertise from
agencies including Teagasc, the National Federation of
Group Water Schemes, the SEAI, UCD, and many others;
as well as the collaborative efforts of IFA and the EPA.
Sustainability is about farm incomes, communities and
the environment. For the hundreds of farmers who have
taken part in the voluntary Smart Farming Programme,
it's more than receiving awards and accolades. At its
core, Smart Farming is about improving farm incomes
and making an environmental difference on farms
and in rural communities. And with average cost
savings of 5,000, as well as ways to reduce climate
impact of between 5 and 7 per cent being identified
on participating farms, the Programme is making a
difference. This is what Sustainable Development
Goals such as "Life on Land", "Climate Action" and
"Responsible Production" are all about.
A focus on practical actions
Smart Farming's work with farmers is based on turning
sustainability science into practical actions. Therefore,
the field demonstrations and panel discussions at a
recent Smart Farming Farm Talk on the farm of Eamon
and Lois Sheehan in Co. Kilkenny centred on Teagasc's
Climate Roadmap published last year.
Over 320 farmers from across the country attended the
Farm Talk to listen, learn and challenge the excellent
field demonstration presenters from Germinal, Teagasc,
the ASSAP programme, the BRIDE biodiversity project
and the Local Authority Waters Programme.
This followed an uplifting opening address by Minister
Richard Bruton, who told those present of agriculture's
unique role when it comes to climate action - having the
ability to both reduce emissions and create a store for
carbon.
IFA President Joe Healy set out farmers' positive climate
actions which he sees as providing a strong platform for
further action. However, he cautioned that this can only
be achieved if: there is a fully mobilised advisory service;
roadblocks are removed allowing community and
Making a difference the
Smart Farming way
Thomas Ryan, IFA Environment Executive, looks at the e orts of the Smart Farming
Programme towards more environmentally, and economically, sustainable farming.
Smart Farming receiving the Sustainable Development Goals
Champions' award at the National Ploughing Championships in Carlow.
Left to right: Mary Frances Rochford, EPA, Gillian O'Sullivan, Smart
Farming farmer, Richard Bruton, Minister for Communications, Climate
Action and Environment and Joe Healy, IFA President.
The Sheehan family from Cu esgrange hosted the recent Smart Farming
Farm Talk. Left to right: Thomas Cooney, IFA & Smart Farming, Fiona
McCoole, EPA, Maureen, Lois, Eamon, Rachel and Julia Sheehan, Joe
Healy, IFA President, Richard Bruton, Minister for Communications,
Climate Action and Environment, Eamon Sheehan and James Murphy,
Kilkenny IFA.
Dr. David Wall from Teagasc talking about the role of protected urea, for
grass growth and environmental performance.
16