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Carbery’s sustainability bonus could give farmers €5k a year

August 19th, 2022 7:05 AM

By Siobhan Cronin

Launching Carbery’s sustainability bonus on the farm of John Buttimer at Paddock, Coppeen, were John’s wife Eunice, children Catelyn, Euan and Eliza Mae with John’s father, John Snr, Carbery chief executive Jason Hawkins, Carbery chairman Cormac O’Keeffe and director of sustainability, Enda Buckley. (Photo: Andy Gibson)

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CARBERY is to offer a €6m annual bonus fund to supplier farmers who meet four sustainability criteria.

The Ballineen-based group this week launched the new phase in its longstanding farm sustainability programme to build on and support the work already underway on its farmers’ holdings throughout  West Cork.

As part of the FutureProof initiative, next year Carbery suppliers will receive 1c per litre bonus in exchange for the implementation of milk recording, meeting certain EBI thresholds, commitment to an ASSAP (water quality) assessment and using protected urea.

To assist farmers in preparing for the full roll-out of the scheme next year, this year they will be paying a 0.5cpl bonus to every farmer who signs up. In opting-in for FutureProof, farmers will commit to a sustainability pledge, and agree to undergo an assessment for water quality.

Carbery chief executive Jason Hawkins said that Carbery was a company with a commitment to sustainability since its foundation. ‘This ethos has come from the attitude of our 1,220 farmer suppliers,’ he added. ‘We have a long record of pioneering sustainable approaches and promoting sustainability on our farms. Whether through our Carbery Trees programme under which 100,000 trees have been planted on West Cork farms, our Carbery Greener Dairy farmers’ programme, underway since 2012, or our Farm Zero C project, we have always prioritised sustainable approaches.’

He said the company had chosen to focus on four very specific, measurable areas, to have the most impact, in terms of reducing environmental impact, improving efficiency on farms, and shifting the dial quickly on emissions and water quality. ‘It is what we need in order to secure the future of dairy farming,’ he said. ‘Though we are starting from a good base, with years of positive action behind us, farmers have a huge challenge ahead to meet the agriculture reduction target of 25% as set out in the Climate Action Plan. We will support our farmers all the way, and FutureProof will be a key enabler of this.’

Carbery chairman Cormac O’Keeffe said the news was timely, given the targets announced for farmers last week, but that Carbery had been working on it for some time. It means that these farmers ‘will be rewarded for good practice’, he said, adding that the programme could see the average supplier earning an extra €5,000 a year – in addition to savings and gains that could be made through efficiencies and increased productivity.

Farmers react to the 25% emissions target, p15

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