Smart Farming, the voluntary resource efficiency programme focused on identifying ways to improve farm returns and enhance the rural environment kicks off its 2019 activities this month.

The Smart Farming cost-saving team is already out meeting farmers, with two clear objectives: to find ways to reduce costs on participating farms by at least €5,000 and how to reduce climate impact by 5-7%.

Richard Bruton, Minister for Communciations, Climate Action and Environment speaking at the launch of the 2019 Programme said: “The Smart Farming programme is a great example of how agriculture can take the lead on sustainability, showing how the careful management of resources can reap both financial and environmental rewards for farmers.

"In 2018, the average farm saved €7,170 while reducing their emissions by 9%. That is a fantastic result for the individual farmer and I encourage all those interested to get involved and see how they too could see the benefits of these improved practices.”

Smart Farming’s spring seminar will take place on Tuesday 30 April in Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise.

Agenda for the day

  • 1.45pm – Registration.
  • 2.00pm – Opening address, Joe Healy, IFA president.
  • 2.30pm –
  • Reducing costs and making an environmental difference.

    – Damian McDonald, IFA director general.

    Accessing the €10m on-farm renewables fund.

    – Michael O’Donoghue, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

    Reducing costs through better grassland management - Tullamore bypass farm

    – Mark Coyne and Paul Fox, Teagasc.

    Managing crude protein to improve performance

    – Dr Karina Pierce, University College Dublin.

  • 3.30pm – Panel and audience discussion.
  • 3.50pm – Tea/coffee break.
  • 4.00pm –
  • The furrow less ploughed

    – Fiona McCoole, Environmental Protection Agency.

    Once a day milking - for sustainability.

    – Gillian O’Sullivan, Dungarvan, Co Waterford.

    Farming cattle and trees - for success

    – Pat Hennessy, Borris-in-Ossory, Co Laois

    Lowland intensive farming and the environment

    – Donal Sheehan, BRIDE Project, Castlelyons, Co Cork

  • 5.00pm – Panel and audience discussion.
  • 5.15pm – Sustainability: consumers’ expectations
  • – Dr Paddy Wall, Professor of Public Health, University College Dublin.

  • 5.40pm –
  • Concluding remarks and key messages

    – Thomas Cooney, IFA National Environment chair

  • 5.50pm – Conference concludes.
  • There is no charge. Please confirm your attendance by emailing or call Eleanor Ryan at 01 426 0343.

    This is a Department-approved Knowledge Transfer dairy, beef, tillage, poultry and sheep event.