Adam Henson beefs up the conversation on sustainable production in new podcast
Farmer and TV presenter, Adam Henson, is hosting a new podcast addressing the big questions in sustainable beef production. In association with meat processors, ABP, the three-part series, The Sustainable Beef Podcast, explores how farmers and the farming industry are working together to meet net zero targets.
Discussions with leading industry minds, including Professor Jude Capper (Harper Adams University), Professor Temple Grandin (Colorado State University) and Professor Chris Reynolds (Reading University) geared up to support farmers on their own road to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as aiding the consumer to make responsible choices.
Adam Henson, who runs beef sheep on his farm in the Cotswolds, said:
“The beef sector has to play its part in meeting the country’s net zero ambition, and this means big changes to how farmers run their businesses and how meat is produced. The UK has some of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions from livestock; we are doing a good job and getting better all the time. We have the opportunity to be a world-leader in sustainable meat production and we have a big PR job to do.
“This podcast is a great insight on the importance of sustainability and professionalism in the supply chain and demonstrates the amount of effort and energy ABP is putting into research and development to maintain standards and keep Britain leading the way. It’s fantastic the work they are doing just to showcase how much they care.”
ABP is one of the UK’s leading red meat processors, with sites across the UK supplying to retail, food service and wholesalers. Sixty years in business, it works with 12,000 British farmers and has set up two demonstration farms in County Wexford in Ireland and on the Shropshire and Staffordshire border in England. These are to gather data on beef rearing systems and genetics to support farming businesses to produce more sustainably and efficiently.
Group Sustainability Director at ABP, Dean Holroyd, explains: “At ABP, we are committed to science-based climate change targets and are working hard to support farmers on the road to reducing their GHGs, as well as supporting consumers to be sustainable. “We are seeing through our demonstration farms and farmer producers that economic and environmental sustainability go hand in hand: the most environmentally efficient animals are also the most economically beneficial.”
In the first episode of The Sustainable Beef Podcast, Professor and ABP Chair of Sustainable Beef and Sheep Production at Harper Adams University, Dr Jude Capper, looks at the practical ways to reduce emissions. She says in the British Isles we start in a strong position with two-thirds of agricultural land unfit for growing anything but grass:
“This unique base lends itself to grow the most environmentally friendly beef in the world - it’s all about every producer doing a little better with every animal, every pasture, every system. This will make a remarkable difference. If, for example, each farmer reduced the age of slaughter by even just a few days, it will have a positive impact.”
The Sustainable Beef Podcast is available on all the usual channels.
ABP has released the third and final episode of its podcast series, Farm Matters. This time the focus is on the important topic of reducing carbon emissions in dairy beef production, and in particular the role that beef genetics can play in sustainability. Contributors to the podcast shared their knowledge and opinions of this area, these included: Dr Padraig French, Head of the Livestock Systems Department and Dairy Enterprise Leader at Teagasc; Dr Andrew Cromie, Geneticist and Technical Director at the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF); and Donal McCarthy, a dairy farmer from Clonakilty in County Cork.
Dr Padraig French discussed the work of ABP, Teagasc and the ICBF to determine the best possible genetics for the dairy beef herd, which will be beneficial to both the dairy herd and to beef production, which is where a large proportion of calves from dairy cows are utilised. He talked about future trends in the industry and the need to produce cattle that will grow quickly on a grass based diet and reach a target carcass weight at a young age, in order to reduce its environmental impact. He also discussed the difficulties faced by Teagasc in collecting data on farms as a result of Covid-19.
Dr Andrew Cromie spoke further about the role of genetics in reducing emissions from dairy beef production. This includes identifying and examining cattle with a lower methane output, and how this will help Ireland to reach its ambitious emissions targets. He also spoke about how this work will benefit farmers and enable them to produce and sell cattle more quickly to producers.
Donal McCarthy discussed the benefits he has experienced in relation to better diary beef calves from improved sire choice in his diary herd. He also reinforced the importance the role of the dairy beef calf has in the dairy industry, and how every dairy farmer should place emphasis on the value of their calf.
In this episode of Farm Matters the focus is on the important topic of mental health and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on rural life. Contributors to the podcast shared their own personal experiences and knowledge in this area, with host Mary Kennedy, these included: Jonathan Dwyer from Devilsbit Macra na Feirme in Tipperary, Founder of Make the Moove mental health workshops; Ian Power, CEO of SpunOut.ie; and Carmel Dawson, Public Relations Officer of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA).
Ian Power discusses the impact of Covid-19 that has resulted in restrictions for young people, in particular a lack of social contact. Research carried out by SpunOut.ie shows that young people in rural Ireland are twice as likely to say that they feel isolated at this time when compared to those in urban areas. He also discusses the work of SpunOut.ie to support the mental health of young people during the pandemic, and his hopes for the future.
Jonathan Dwyer was alarmed by the high suicide rate in North Tipperary and Laois, and how this was affecting his own community. As a result, he started the Make the Moove mental
health workshops, which looks into the mental health pressures for young people in rural Ireland and the lessons they have learned from examining similar international examples.
Carmel Dawson discusses how the pandemic has disrupted people’s lives and the problems it has caused in the form of a lack of services and isolation in her hometown of Tullow in Co. Carlow. She also discusses how the ICA and its Federations have adapted to the restrictions.
This episode is centered on the important issue of farm safety. Guests include Kerrie Leonard, who was the victim of a farming accident; Pat Griffin, Senior Inspector with the Health and Safety Authority (HSA); and Alma Jordan, Founder of AgriKids.
In this episode, Kerrie Leonard from County Meath discusses the life-changing spinal injury she suffered in a farming accident and how it has impacted her life and that of her family. Kerrie strongly believes in promoting the importance of farm safety and the potential dangers, while also operating a working farm area. Since her accident, she has competed internationally in archery, completed a Masters qualification and is currently working with a technology company.
Pat Griffin from the HSA provides industry statistics on the profile of farmers who are most vulnerable to accidents and discusses what needs to be done to tackle the issue. While agriculture represents just 5% of the working population, it consistently represents approximately 40% of workplace deaths, with children and the elderly having accounted for 75% of fatalities on farms so far this year. Pat also speaks about the impact of Covid-19 on the agriculture sector, as well as the correlation between mental health and farming accidents.
AgriKids founder, Alma Jordan highlights the current work that is underway to empower and educate children on farm safety; how it has adapted to Covid-19 by embracing technology to reach an online audience; and plans for the organisation.
Lockdown has taken its toll on our well-being with friends, families and colleagues cut off during the Coronavirus pandemic. As COVID-19 continues to impact our daily lives, stay connected with Karen Patterson and guests during these unusual times.
In this episode, farmer, David Devine, talks openly with the broadcaster and fellow farmer, Karen Patterson, about his past experience of poor mental health so others can be aware of the signs.
Plus, Northern Ireland’s New Mental Health Champion, Professor Siobhan O’Neill, discusses how she believes the positive community spirit during this pandemic could be harnessed to help us look out for one another as we face a ‘new normal.’
And the Chief Executive of the Charity ‘Rural Support,’ Veronica Morris, explains how their services can help through these challenging times.
It’s an anxious time for young people who have missed out on so much due to the Coronavirus. From disruption in education to economic turmoil, the former BBC broadcaster & farmer Karen Patterson explores if the pandemic has produced any positives for young people wanting to study or work in agri-food in Northern Ireland. In this episode she is joined by guests – the Education Adviser for CAFRE’s Loughry College, Liz Simpson; the part-time beef farmer and Head of Biology at Belfast Royal Academy, Dr Andrew Bell; the sixth former and ABP Angus Youth Challenge Outstanding Individual, Lorcan Convery as well as Loughry graduate and now full-time ABP employee Sarah Jane Houston.
If you are a parent or a teacher of a teenager, or a student who has some important choices to make about what to do next, then this podcast is for you.
Farming is one of the largest sectors of employment on the island of Ireland yet it is still one of the most dangerous occupations and continues to represent a disproportionate number of deaths compared to other sectors.
As a Farm Safety Partnership affiliate member and a patron of the charity, Embrace Farm, ABP is committed to helping increase awareness of farm safety related issues across Ireland and help build a community of support.
Listen to the broadcaster and farmer Karen Patterson in a frank conversation about the impact of farm accidents. She is joined by William Sayers from Co. Londonderry and Ann Doherty, from Co. Kilkenny two survivors of traumatic accidents; the lead paramedic for the NI Air Ambulance whose job it is to attend these tragic scenes; as well beef farmer Harry Sinclair, who is also Chairman of the Farm Safety Partnership.