‘FANTASTIC ambassadors’ for Carbery is how a group of West Cork farmers who have just graduated with a diploma in Environmental Science and Social Policy from UCC have been described.
The 16 were the first cohort to take part in the pioneering Carbery Greener Dairy Programme (CGDP).
The primary objectives of the CGDP are to introduce efficiencies and improve environmental sustainability on all Carbery milk supplier farms.
And as part of that initiative participants completed the UCC course and graduated last week. UCC recognised that five eights of the diploma was covered by the CGDP, while the remaining modules were covered through the diploma. Carbery’s sustainability manger Edna Buckley said it was a proud day for all concerned, particularly as it was a first for Carbery, and the entire country.
He described the group as ‘progressive operators’ who were all keen to better themselves.
‘They were all conscious that sustainability played a bigger part in their business so upskilled to prepare for that,’ he said.
CGDP is a programme in collaboration with Teagasc and the country’s first model for best practice in sustainable dairy farming which started in 2012.
Enda describes it as ‘an innovative, dairy efficiency programme designed to measure, monitor and optimise resource allocation and best sustainable practice on farm.’
Farmers who have taken part in the programme have all increased profitability over a four year period while also farming sustainably and maintaining low levels of carbon emissions.
They’ve done this by identifying key areas where they can reduce carbon footprint, and increase nitrogen and phosphorous efficiency particularly regarding milk solids output from pasture and soil fertility.
A new group of 30 local farmers from the locality will shortly embark on the second phase of CGDP and will also have the option to complete the UCC diploma.
*See next week’s farming pages for full coverage from the annual Ludgate AgriTech conference in association with Carbery and AIB.