In late October this year, Limerick-based agri-tech company BHSL announced the appointment of former Kerry Group chief executive Denis Brosnan as its new executive chair. Appointing a high-profile figure such as Brosnan sends out all the right kind of messages in the agribusiness sector, but the story behind BHSL goes back a lot further.

The company’s genesis goes back to the mid-1990s, when Kantoher-based poultry farmer Jack O’Connor was told by environmental agencies he could no longer spread poultry manure on the surrounding lands. The high-nutrient manure had raised environmental red flags that it was damaging nearby waterways.