Ireland’s food and farming sector will have a significant competitive advantage in the global marketplace by creating one of the world’s most sustainable food systems through a unique collaboration between animal nutrition company Devenish and agriculture and food development authority Teagasc.
The public-private partnership will see the two organisations work closely together to demonstrate and deliver cutting-edge technologies to help farms and the wider industry reach tightening environmental targets, which will allow the industry to be one of the first to differentiate its produce as more sustainable and lower carbon than that produced by other nations.
The collaboration will see both organisations work together under the SignPost Programme, a Teagasc campaign to prompt climate action by all Irish farmers and designed to achieve early progress in reducing emissions from Irish agriculture while also improving water quality and biodiversity. Teagasc will also support Devenish’s Agrinewal programme, which accurately measures carbon emissions and sequestration to give farmers the power to improve their carbon balance, and will also create opportunities for further collaboration through joint research projects.
Under the deal, the Devenish research farms at the Global Innovation Centre in Dowth in County Meath and Aclare in County Sligo will be included as SignPost demonstration farms and operate under a co-designed sustainability plan built around the implementation of sustainable technologies.
Sustainability sits at the heart of Devenish’s “One Health from Soil to Society” approach which focuses on the importance of optimising nutrient utilisation in soil, plant, animal, environmental and human health.
Teagasc will site carbon monitoring technology at Dowth, which will then become part of the National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory, contributing to building the national database and models for assessing soil carbon sequestration.
Other cooperation will see Teagasc license its Carbon Farming Services to Devenish, while Devenish will provide data on its farm performance, including environmental indicators.
Roberta McDonald, Sustainable Solutions Lead at Devenish, said: “The scale of change required to instil sustainability in Ireland’s agriculture and food sector are considerable, but ambitious organisations such as Devenish and Teagasc have the skills and knowledge to set the sector apart from the rest of the world. Our ambition is to provide solutions to achieve change in the sector through a blend of innovative and original technologies, backed by research and science.
“Demonstrating and delivering these technologies to help farms and the wider industry achieve the targets and tasks set out for them by government and others is a priority.”
Richard Kennedy, Chief Executive of Devenish, said: “Devenish has placed itself at the heart of the global race to create a sustainable food system for this and future generations. By partnering with Teagasc, we have access to some of the best industry-leading knowledge and science in the world.
“By pooling our talents, we will be able to create the right mix of technologies to place Ireland at the forefront of sustainable food production.”
Professor Frank O’Mara, Director of Research at Teagasc, said: “The growing environmental challenges facing food producers requires a collective effort, bringing all resources together, to assist farmers in making the necessary changes. This partnership with Devenish, as part of the Signpost programme, will help the agri industry play its part in meeting the climate challenge.”