Thousands of people from all over Ireland attended the Energy and Farm Diversification Show at Gurteen College, Co. Tipperary on Thursday, July 20th, 2023.
The large attendance listened to over 100 speakers who took part in an extensive talks agenda across 3 pavilions where topics around energy, farm diversification and smart climate land use.
These topics have significant importance to the future of the sector and were passionately debated and discussed.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, presented the official opening ministerial address.
He stated, “Agriculture is at the centre of national efforts to address climate change and halt the loss of biodiversity.”
“This event with its themes of energy, farm diversification and land use provide an opportunity to learn more about the range of renewable technologies at farm level as well as the diversification options available to those that choose that path for their farm businesses.”
“In terms of the decarbonisation of the energy system, agriculture is pivotal and has a pathway based on three opportunities – the opportunity to reduce emissions, the capacity to remove emissions through how we farm our land and through a contribution to energy.”
“The Irish agri-food sector has demonstrated itself to be amongst the most resilient and sustainable sectors both nationally and internationally.”
“However, given the effects of climate change on agricultural systems, the need to bolster that resilience has become more important than ever.”
“Achieving our sectoral emissions reduction target will take a collective effort by farmers, advisors, educators and the whole agri industry and I will continue to encourage those efforts through practical supports such as TAMs, SCEP and the Genomics programme.”
The audience on the day comprised policy makers, industry and farmers with a common theme in every topic for better communication and collaboration across the wider agricultural sector to progress and achieve the opportunities that are there in a sustainable system.
Many experts calling for better joined up thinking in schemes, initiatives and incentives.
As well as the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the event was attended by Minister Pippa Hackett and Chairperson of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture and the Marine, Jackie Cahill TD, along with MEPs, TDs and representation from all the main farm lobby groups showing the importance of each topic covered by the event.
Best practice, innovative thinking, and inspirational activity
Teagasc Energy & Rural Development Specialist, Barry Caslin said:
“Farm diversification has become an even more important topic in agriculture with farm family members thinking of adding a new business activity to traditional farming in order to future-proof their livelihood and already established business.”
“This year’s Energy and Farm Diversification show provided an opportunity for the public to source information and advice on farm diversification funding, grants for diversification, planning, new products, new services, new ideas, troubleshooting, business tips, marketing tools, networking, inspiring keynote sessions, like-minded professionals, potential partnerships and much more.”
“The event showcased best practice, innovative thinking and inspirational activity to other farmers in the area of on farm energy, sustainable agriculture and diversification opportunities in rural areas.”
Earlier this month, a new Teagasc Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC) to assist farmers and the agricultural industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions was published.
Speaking at the event in Gurteen, Professor Gary Lanigan, the lead author of the Teagasc MACC stated:
“The MACC provides farmers and landowners with a roadmap towards achieving sectoral targets.”
“However, it is important to note that these options must be translated and incorporated into new low Greenhouse gas (GHG) production systems by advisors. The Signpost Programme will be a key driver of this.”
Karl Richards, Acting Head of the Teagasc Climate Research Centre reiterated the need for urgent action of the MACC measures.
He said: “Our targets are only six to seven years away, so speed of uptake, particularly for nitrogen fertiliser reducing measures, will be key to achieving the targets.”
This innovative event is a collaboration between Teagasc, Tipperary County Council, Irish Farmers’ Association, Tipperary Energy Agency, Macra Na Feirme, Gurteen College and TUS Midlands Midwest.