Donegal farmers Derek and Gareth Peoples have won a top award at the Bord Bia Origin Green Farmer Awards.
The duo took home the Dairy Calf to Beef category prize at last night’s ceremony in The Heritage Hotel, Killenard.
Derek and his son Gareth Peoples run a dairy calf to beef operation alongside tillage and some forestry on their 220 acre farm just outside Newtowncunningham, Co. Donegal.
They rear male Friesian calves each spring, which are finished as steers at between 22 and 24 months of age, at an average 320kg carcase weight.
The judges were impressed by the People’s attention to detail in hygiene, animal health and their focus on achieving cheap liveweight gain from grass through early turnout and good grassland management.
The Peoples were one of 11 category winners as Bord Bia honoured Ireland’s most sustainable, efficient and environmentally friendly family farms.
Over 240 farmers and senior representatives from farming organisations and the agri-food industry gathered to celebrate the achievements of the finalists, drawn from the dairy, beef and horticulture sectors across the country.
In total, 39 finalists competed for the prestigious awards following a rigorous process that included on-farm judging by teams from Bord Bia, Teagasc, the Irish Farmers Journal, UCD and IT Blanchardstown.
Presenting the awards Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy paid tribute to the achievements of all the finalists: “The pursuit of excellence by Origin Green farmers is at the heart of the Irish food and drink industry’s export success in a challenging consumer-driven trading environment.
“Bord Bia highlights these family farms to food buyers who are looking for living examples of the highest values in Irish food production. When they visit these farms they see the commitment to protecting the land and its environment for future generations of food producers and consumers.
“Tonight’s finalists are producing beef with a 40% lower carbon footprint than the average producer and producing milk with a 16% lower carbon impact. These are the solid proof points that impress international customers who are seeking solutions to their consumers’ demands for more sustainably produced food. It is from this foundation that we can build durable relationships with food buyers for the food we export.”
All finalists will be invited by Bord Bia to participate in an organised visit to an overseas market to see how the organisation uses their achievements in sustainability to win new business.