ABP has entered into a new 5-year sponsorship partnership with Air Ambulance NI. In a first-of-its-kind branding agreement for Air Ambulance NI, the ABP logo is now displayed on the charity’s helicopters.
The charity, along with partners at Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for Northern Ireland. The HEMS team delivers world-class pre-hospital care at scene that can be the difference between life and death. Last year it was tasked on 692 occasions, an increase of 18.5% on the previous year. Road traffic, industrial or farm accidents make up the majority of call-outs for the Air Ambulance NI.
Commenting on the announcement, George Mullan, Managing Director of ABP in Northern Ireland said, “Air Ambulance NI provides a vital emergency service particularly to those living in rural and farming communities, where agricultural accidents account for up to 10% of call outs. Northern Ireland is incredibly fortunate to be home to this world class service, which has the ability to make a real difference in critical situations. We are delighted to support the essential work of the air ambulance service.”
Dr Gerard O’Hare, Trustee of Air Ambulance NI said, “We have the pleasure of working with corporate partners across multiple sectors, striving to deliver partnerships that align with CSR needs, resources and business drivers to achieve the £2m we aspire to raise annually. There is usually a farming related incident each week which has a massive effect on the individual, family, community, and society. As a leading business in the agri-food sector, ABP has been supporting Air Ambulance NI since the start of the service in 2017. We are extremely grateful to ABP for its significant contribution to the service Air Ambulance provides to the whole community.”
Claudy farmer George Haslet was a patient of Air Ambulance NI in June 2018 following a slurry accident. George said, “I was mixing slurry when I remembered I had pet lambs in with me so went to get them out. I got the first one and then have no memory. I am confident that without the quick services of the air ambulance and fact that they were able to induce a coma at the scene, I wouldn’t be here today. They saved my life.”
Air Ambulance NI is offering companies bespoke webinars about the service and how to become involved, bookable by phone on 028 9262 2677 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
ABP is pleased to announce that it has signed up to the Business In the Community Ireland (BITCI) Low Carbon Pledge, the first dedicated pledge generated by Irish businesses to set industry standards on sustainability and reduce carbon emissions. ABP has been committed to the Science Based Targets initiative since 2019 where its greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative and are consistent with levels required to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. The company is also a nominated sector leader of a similar carbon reduction scheme with Business in the Community in Northern Ireland.
As part of its commitment to reduce its carbon emissions, ABP has been conducting a multi-year study with Teagasc and the ICBF at its Demonstration Farm in Carlow. The research has focused on using a data-driven approach to improving the genetics available to the dairy beef herd, so that beef animals optimise their feed conversion ratio, grow faster and are ready for slaughter at a younger age, thereby significantly reducing their emissions footprint. The study has demonstrated that a methane emission reduction of up to 40% is achievable and this could have significant positive benefits across Irish beef production. The results also highlight the potential for improved yields of up to €200 on animal carcass values for beef farmers. Over 4,000 animals have been involved in the study to date with results fed into the ICBF data base.
Dean Holroyd, Technical and Sustainability Director, ABP Food Group said: “ABP is pleased to be among 50 Irish businesses that have signed up to the Low Carbon Pledge movement. For over six years we have been working with Teagasc and the ICBF to make beef productions more sustainable and the results to date demonstrate what can be achieved on a typical farm as well as highlighting the possibilities for the beef production sector.”
ABP’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets have been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), demonstrating the company’s commitment to aligning its sustainability strategy to the global climate change goals as set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement. The targets address GHG emissions across ABP’s business (scope 1 & 2 emissions) and its supply chain (scope 3 emissions).
Originally launched in 2018, the Low Carbon Pledge has now evolved and calls on all Irish businesses to work towards setting science-based emission reduction targets by 2024. The Pledge demonstrates meaningful business commitment to reducing carbon emissions and acts as a catalyst for wider initiatives and actions. The Pledge is led by the Low Carbon Sub-group of the BITCI Leaders’ Group on Sustainability, and endorsed by the Irish Government.
Beef produced on farms across the British Isles is widely recognised and being amongst the most sustainable in the world. This is evidenced by the fact that its carbon footprint of approximately half of the global average. Nonetheless, results of a multi-year study involving over 4,000 animals at ABP’s Demonstration Farms in Shropshire and in Ireland have shown that the level of methane emissions could be reduced by up to 40% against ABP’s current average, when a more data-driven approach is applied across the supply chain.
The findings were presented by ABP at this year’s City Food Lecture. The study shows that by using a data-driven approach to selective breeding, it is possible to encourage the siring of beef animals that are more efficient at converting feed to protein, reaching their target weight earlier and thereby significantly reducing their environmental footprint.
In addition to the environmental benefits, farmers could improve their economic returns by up to £100 per head – demonstrating that economic and environmental sustainability can travel hand in hand.
Dean Holroyd, ABP’s Technical and Sustainability Director, said: “The purpose of this work is to demonstrate what can be achieved on a typical farm. By harnessing data and information across the entire supply chain from conception to plate this research shows we can further improve economic and environmental performance of UK beef farmers in a global marketplace while also satisfying changing consumer desires for more sustainable diets.”
ABP is working with partners including Icelandic Research Institute Matís and UK data specialist Agrimetrics to explore the feasibility of going beyond existing DNA traceability systems to make it faster and easier to verify the origins of meat – and make that information available at the point of purchase and consumption. Called BLINK, the project forms part of ABP’s wider involvement with EIT Food, a pan-European consortium that is finding solutions to today’s most pressing food challenges.
Commenting on the collaborative partnership, James Draper, ABP UK, said, “We are delighted to be part of an international collaboration that is playing its part in improving the sustainability of future food production and consumption. The new concept looks to take advantage of recent advancements in DNA profiling and looks to combine with other digital data sources – to provide farm to fork traceability at the point of purchase and consumption.’
Work on the project started in early 2020 and the project will now be evaluated to establish how realistic and feasible providing farm to fork traceability at the point of purchase is given current technology within the required commercial constraints.
ABP has announced a new mentorship initiative with the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) for its agri-skills development programme, the ABP Angus Youth Challenge. Each team on the finalist programme will now benefit from a dedicated mentor selected from CAFRE’s beef and sheep advisory team. The mentors will work with their teams over the next 18 months, encouraging them to reach their full potential and inspiring them to apply best practice in the rearing of their Angus cross calves through to finishing.
Each team has been assigned a specific project to research. Most importantly they will be able to tap in to CAFRE’s expertise relevant to their assignments by exploring and applying modern techniques and technologies that for example reduce the environmental impact of agriculture and the use of animal health plans.
Explaining the rationale behind the initiative, Liam McCarthy who is Head of Supply Chain Development for ABP in Northern Ireland said, “ABP is delighted that CAFRE is providing this valuable resource to our ABP Angus Youth Challenge participants. Covid-19 restrictions have created a challenging environment for the learning and development of our young people. The mentors will help bring an exciting and motivating dimension to the finalist programme. Above all, we believe that this additional interaction for participants will be extremely beneficial to them during these difficult times.”
CAFRE’s Head of Beef & Sheep Branch, Paul McHenry added, “Our advisors are looking forward to working with their mentees and bringing out the best in the ABP Angus Youth Challenge participants.”
The five finalist teams and their mentors are: Ballymena Academy, Co. Antrim - Assignment theme: Future-proofing beef farming through agri-technology; Mentor: Stephen Flanagan
Cross and Passion College, Ballycastle - Assignment theme: Exploring the benefits of a holistic approach to animal performance; Mentor: Natasha Ferguson
Castle Tower School, Co. Antrim - Assignment theme: The Positive Impact of Farming & Agriculture on our Lives; Mentor: Hannah McNelis
Magherafelt High School, Co. Londonderry - Assignment theme: Meeting expectations of consumers for a quality eating experience; Mentor: Jack Friar
Omagh Academy, Co. Tyrone - Assignment theme: Explore the opportunities for a low carbon Angus beef brand for Northern Ireland Mentor: Gareth Beacom
Macra Agricultural Skillnet recognised its outstanding young leaders at the 2020 ABP National Leadership Awards tonight, Wednesday 2nd on Zoom.
The winners were:
John Keane, Devils Bit Macra, North Tipperary
Helen Dempsey, Mountmellick Macra, Laois
Helen Hayes, Devils Bit Macra, North Tipperary
The other finalists were:
John O Driscoll, Caheragh Macra, Carbery Region, Cork
Claire Gough, Athboy Macra, Meath
Jonathan Dwyer, Devils Bit Macra, North Tipperary
The purpose of the competition is to promote Young Leaders and acknowledge the volunteers in Macra and the massive amount of work they put into developing their local communities.
“The participants across the competition demonstrated the best in leadership which Macra na Feirme is famous for developing. The deserving winners are those who have gone above and beyond to grow the organisation and mature as leaders themselves”, Macra National President Thomas Duffy said.
The evening heard from Eoin Ryan on behalf of ABP, who announced the winners. “ABP is delighted to be associated once again with the National Leadership Awards. I would like to commend all of the participants and particularly finalists on their achievement in reaching this stage of the competition and I wish them every success in the future. In what has been an unprecedented year, it is inspiring to experience first-hand the enthusiasm, energy and leadership that each of the finalists has demonstrated throughout the finals process and to learn about their positive impact in Macra and in their local communities”.
The event was hosted by Ruairi McKiernan, charity founder, social innovator, podcast host and Irish author. Sarah Colgan, one of the founders behind the 20x20 women in sport campaign also joined on the evening and spoke of the success of the campaign.
This year's six finalists were judged by a panel comprised of:
Seamus Phelan (Macra na Ferime Past President)
Joanne Fearon (UCC)
Eoin Ryan (ABP Food Group)
ABP has achieved Platinum Level in Business in the Community’s 2020 NI Environmental Benchmarking Survey. The survey was conducted with 100 organisations as a comparison tool and to identify areas where they can improve their environmental impacts. It recognises and rewards organisations that are going above and beyond their legal environmental requirements.
“As a business depending on natural resources to produce its products, ABP fully understands its responsibility to ensure that those resources are in place for the next generation,” said George Mullan, Managing Director of ABP in Northern Ireland. “For this reason, operating with sustainability as a core principle goes to the very heart of our business. ABP is a fully integrated agri-business. This means that its main business function - the processing of beef - is supported by three supporting businesses: a pet foods division, a renewables division and a proteins division. This unique structure ensures that ABP’s products are processed in the most sustainable manner possible.”
Last year, ABP’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets were validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) demonstrating the company’s commitment to aligning its sustainability strategy to the global climate change goals as set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement. The new targets address GHG emissions across ABP’s business (scope 1 & 2 emissions) and its supply chain (scope 3 emissions).
Chair of Business in the Community NI and Group Chief Executive of Translink, Chris Conway, said: “Stakeholders, suppliers and the general public increasingly consider sustainability to be of utmost importance and the Survey is a way for organisations to publicly demonstrate their commitment to a greener future. I want to congratulate and thank all companies that have stepped forward to take part in the Survey, and report on their environmental practices.”
The survey is sponsored by Moy Park and supported by Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
Teenagers from 13 schools across the province have taken part in this year’s semi-final of the ABP Youth Challenge, a skills development initiative for teenagers from the agri-food business ABP.
Judging of this year’s semi-final took place online due to Covid 19 restrictions with teams presenting their ideas and displays to camera for a panel of independent judges.
The judges included representatives from leading organisations across the farming, agri-food and education sectors including Queen’s University Belfast; Southern Regional College; the Ulster Farmers Union; the Livestock and Meat Commission; ASDA, Ulster Bank; DAERA; CAFRE, and Business in the Community NI.
The teams that progress to the next stage will take part in an 18-month skills development programme. Under the guidance of ABP and the NI Angus Producer Group the finalists will be rewarded with a hands-on experience of rearing Angus cross calves and profiting from their sale to ABP; whilst gaining employability skills and knowledge of the beef industry. The proceeds of the sale of each team’s calves to ABP will be awarded to each group. One overall winning team will also receive a £1,000 cash prize for their school.
This year’s semi-finalists were from Ballymena Academy; Ballycastle High School; Banbridge Academy; Belfast Royal Academy, Castle Tower Special School Ballymena; Cookstown High School; Cross and Passion College, Ballycastle; Dalriada Ballymoney; Gaelcholáiste Dhoire Dungiven; Magherafelt High School; Omagh Academy; Royal School Armagh; and Saintfield High.
Managing Director of ABP in Northern Ireland, George Mullan said, “ABP is committed to playing its part in developing the next generation for a sustainable of the local agri-food sector. The ABP Angus Youth Challenge aims to help bridge the gap between school and employment. We are delighted so many schools were able to take part during these challenging times. It is a clear signal of the benefits the competition brings to young people.”
The schools currently engaged in the 2019 – 2021 finalist programme are Aughnacloy College, Fivemiletown College, the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Wallace High School.
The competition is also open to new entrants until 27th November. For details of how to take part visit: www.abpangusyouthchallenge.com