AIB, Carbery, BiOrbic Partner for Sustainable Farming
AIB, the leading financial services provider in Ireland, has become the exclusive financial institution partner for the Farm Zero C project located in Shinagh, just outside Bandon in West Cork.
Farm Zero C, a collaborative initiative between Carbery, an international food ingredients company based in West Cork, and BiOrbic, Ireland's National Bioeconomy Research Centre, aims to establish an economically viable and climate-neutral model for dairy farming in Ireland.
AIB's role as the exclusive financial institution partner involves providing financial support for the ongoing research, promotion, and public advocacy efforts at Shinagh.
Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath TD, commended Carbery Group, BiOrbic, and AIB for their collaboration on this remarkable project that has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the agricultural sector through innovative farming practices and technology.
Recognising the importance of agriculture to the Irish economy, Minister McGrath emphasised the need to ensure the sector's economic viability and environmental sustainability. He praised the Farm Zero C project for aligning with the goals outlined in the Climate Action Plan and applauded all those involved for leading the way in transitioning to a net-zero economy.
AIB CEO Colin Hunt expressed AIB's commitment to supporting the agricultural sector and facilitating the necessary transition to a low-carbon economy. Hunt commended Irish farmers for their commitment to sustainability and emphasised the significance of leadership, collaboration, and innovation from all stakeholders.
AIB's partnership with Carbery and BiOrbic aims to support the success and outcomes of Farm Zero C, which have tangible benefits for the farming community, Ireland's food production system, and the nation's reputation as a sustainable food producer.
The Farm Zero C project takes a comprehensive approach by incorporating various technologies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance farm productivity, and improve resilience.
Carbery CEO Jason Hawkins expressed excitement about AIB joining the project, highlighting the partnership with BiOrbic and their scientific expertise. Hawkins emphasised that AIB's contribution will drive further progress and enable effective communication of the ongoing work and its potential benefits to a broad range of stakeholders, particularly farmers and the agriculture sector.
Kevin O'Connor, Director of BiOrbic, acknowledged the challenge faced by farmers in meeting the government's climate action targets, particularly the requirement to reduce emissions by 25% by 2030.
O'Connor stated that Farm Zero C aims to bring farmers and pioneering research together to achieve climate neutrality while ensuring the viability of farming as a profession. He expressed pride in having AIB as a partner and appreciated their recognition of the project's significance. O'Connor also highlighted the continued support from Science Foundation Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The Farm Zero C project is a groundbreaking endeavour that unites researchers and industry experts to develop a farm-level solution for a global problem. The interdisciplinary programme of work focuses on soil and grassland management, animal diet and breeding practices, biodiversity conservation, life cycle analysis, and renewable energy integration. The project also examines business models and planning to ensure that proposed interventions are commercially viable and explores the potential for carbon trading within a low-emission farm model.
Led by Carbery Group and BiOrbic, the project involves partnerships with UCD, Trinity College Dublin, Teagasc, and MTU. It has received €2 million in funding from Science Foundation Ireland as part of the Zero Emissions Challenge. Additionally, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine approved €3 million in funding for the development of an anaerobic digester and grass biorefinery at the Shinagh Farm site.
The project takes place at Shinagh Farm, which is owned by four West Cork co-ops. The farm encompasses a 250-acre platform and currently milks 250 cows. Through this endeavour, the project team aims to demonstrate the feasibility of a novel and sustainable farming business model. By proving its success at Shinagh Farm, they aspire to establish its applicability in diverse locations.
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