The Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) has said it is essential that the farmers of Ireland take part in a survey around challenges and opportunities for Irish farming.

The survey is focused mainly on sustainability and the bio economy of Irish agriculture.

The representative body for the co-operative sector has urged all farmers from all sectors and all farm sizes to take part.

The survey is online, entirely confidential and takes about 10 minutes to complete.


The research is funded by the Golden Jubilee Trust, which ICOS has described as a “philanthropic trust whose objective is to improve and develop all aspects of Irish agricultural and rural life”.

The correspondence from the survey will help ICOS establish a ‘co-operative framework’ for Irish co-ops to share information and best practice on sustainability and the bio economy.

It’s essential for us to hear directly from farmers in every community across Ireland

The results of the research will be combined with the recommendations of the national bio economy workshop and the co-operative framework intended to drive strategy and a series of measures that ICOS will deliver in 2023 and onwards.

ICOS bio economy executive John Brosnan said: “It’s essential for us to hear directly from farmers in every community across Ireland so that their views can be included in our future co-operative processes aimed at ensuring the sustainability of Irish agriculture now and for the future.

“This forms part of our larger research programme into farmer attitudes and intentions on sustainability measures and the bio economy generally.

“Implementing projects centred around bio economy principles will allow for greater value to be unlocked from the food, feed, fibres, chemicals, fuels and energy that we can derive from our land, crops and natural resources.

“What was once considered a ‘waste’ is now a valuable byproduct or co-product. By moving towards new business models, the ‘win-win’ of helping climate, biodiversity and water quality can be coupled with greater economic return and sustainability for farmers and agriculture in general.”

ICOS currently represents 130 co-operative enterprises in Ireland, including dairy processing co-operatives and co-operative livestock marts, with over 150,000 individual members with a combined turnover of €14bn employing more than 12,000 people.