Willie Kelly, finalist from Sligo, is pictured with one of the judges.
Willie Kelly, a beef farmer from Skreen, Co Sligo has been shortlisted for Bord Bia’s Origin Green Farmer Awards.
The biennial awards recognise and reward the exceptional performance being achieved by members of its Sustainable Quality Assurance schemes for beef, horticulture and dairy. These schemes are pivotal to differentiating Irish food products in the global marketplace.
Mr Kelly has been nominated in the ‘Suckler to Beef’ category at the awards. His herd of suckler cows are predominantly Limousin and Simmental and he also keeps a flock of mid-season lambing ewes.
Willie’s farm, along with the 38 other participating farms, meets high standards around hygiene, farm safety, traceability, animal welfare, remedy use and commitment to their locality. The overall category winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at The Heritage Hotel, Killenard, Co. Laois on Wednesday 12th December.
With the Origin Green programme, Ireland is the first country in the world to audit and carbon footprint its livestock farms, currently at a rate of 650 a week, under what is in effect a national programme providing measurement and feedback to farmers for continuous improvement in how they farm sustainably. The results represent a unique selling point for Irish food exports, proving that farmers are operating with due care for the surrounding environment, resulting in a low *carbon footprint.
Chief Executive of Bord Bia Tara McCarthy paid tribute to the achievements of all the finalists, saying: “The farmers chosen as finalists for these awards are already regarded by the industry as being among the very best. Their commitment to sustainable production through the Origin Green programme and willingness to have their achievements judged by a panel of experts shows their ambition to be the best and to make the Irish food and drink industry a world leader.”
She added: “These are the farmers Bord Bia will be looking to when we are demonstrating to food buyers the solid foundations on which the Irish food and drink industry has been built and why it is sustainable into the future.”
The overall category winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Wednesday, 12th December 2018.