The walks will provide farmers with greater insights to Bord Bia’s Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS) audit, emphasising the importance of audit compliance. The walks will cover:
Quality Mark LogoFarm walk attendees will also receive a Quality Assurance Information Booklet, which will clearly outline what is required of farmers to pass their SBLAS audit, and will provide tips on how to accurately complete records and avoid some commonly made errors.
“We want farmers to know that all audits conducted by Bord Bia are hugely important – for farmers themselves, for their business, for the farm, and for our exports – because these things are important to the consumers we are trying to reach,” said Mr Houlihan.
Aidan Murray, Teagasc beef specialist, has welcomed the farm walk partnership: “From Teagasc’s point of view, we are delighted because Bord Bia is directly involved with promoting Irish beef as a premium product to markets abroad. This ties in very well with what we, in Teagasc, are doing also. Our clients are Bord Bia’s clients and, at the end of the day, we want to work with Bord Bia to help sell Irish beef at the highest level.”
Fodder supply and fodder budget for 2018-2019 are some of the main issues to be addressed by Teagasc during the farm walks, particularly in light of the recent period of drought in Ireland. According to Mr Murray, Teagasc will also focus on Bord Bia’s SBLAS audit process and the need for farmers to record medicine usage accurately. “We export 90 per cent of our beef, full traceability is so important and it is essential that any medicines used are recorded correctly,” he said.
Farmers’ involvement in Bord Bia’s Quality Assurance and Sustainable Assurance schemes, including Origin Green, is strengthening Ireland’s reputation abroad as a world-class producer of food. Recent research carried out by Bord Bia found that most retailers and foodservice providers across Europe want products that are part of a quality assurance scheme.
“This is hugely important and gives Irish farmers a real advantage because many are part of such a scheme, which validates what they do every day,” said Mick Houlihan, Quality Assurance Manager at Bord Bia.
“International buyers and consumers today want assurances on a number of key issues such as animal welfare, traceability, production systems and sustainability claims, so involvement in quality and sustainability schemes really gives Irish farmers an edge and a connection with consumers.”