ERBS Annual Event 2023 Highlights Report
The ERBS annual event 2023 – Enhancing beef sustainability through research and technology – brought together over 45 members from 18 Food and Drink companies on the 3rd and 4th October in Ireland. The event marked five years of collaboration and an increasing level of commitment from the European beef sector as it undertakes significant research and technological developments.
This exclusive member and guest-invitation only event, gathered agricultural sustainability experts, retailers, knowledgeable farmers, and progressive platform members, who are working towards a beef value chain that is environmentally sound, socially responsible, and economically viable.
Day one of the event started in the field, where attendees visited the innovative research and sustainable beef farming operations of the McGuigan family’s Blackwater Farm in Clonguiffin, Co.Meath. Here attendees learnt about Blackwater Farm’s key focus areas namely, farm sustainability, herd sustainability, profit sustainability and people sustainability.
The second stop was The Teagasc Animal Bioscience Centre, where Paul Crossen shared the latest beef research undertaken at Teagasc Grange. A world leader in beef production research programmes, Teagasc Grange is dedicated to identifying the key needs of the sector and the latest science and technologies that will underpin the future of the sector.
Attendees also visited the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation in Co Kildare, to explore the transformative power of genetics in enhancing cattle production and how farmers, the agri-food industry and the wider communities can benefit through genetic gain.
Key takeaways from the field
- Data plays an important part in driving on-farm sustainable decisions.
- A combination of both the research undertaken and the increasing commitment of the beef sector continues to drive positive environmental impacts, which in turn supports farmers livelihoods.
- Genetics have a considerable impact on cattle performance.
Day two at Bord Bia’s Dublin headquarters featured a day of engaging presentations and discussions. Grace Binchy kicked things off, delving into consumer perceptions of carbon messaging. A fireside chat, chaired by Aisling Andrews, where; Claire Carlisle – Communications Director from Animal Health Europe, David Kenny representing the Animal Task Force, and Eleanor Luther from the Global Meat Alliance gave their insights about using the power of collaboration to drive a positive impact within Beef Sustainability. Aisling Molloy highlighted the daily sustainability decisions of Irish beef farmers.
Looking ahead to 2030, a panel discussion, led by Jane Duncan, focused on European beef farmers’ challenges. Panelists included Estelle Rabourdin, Emer Fardy, and Aisling Molloy, all discussing ways to support beef farmers along their journey.
Key discussion insights
- Notable progress on Beef Sustainability across the six country platforms, with strong evidence of leadership and partnership with others.
- Whilst challenges remain, research has developed which has led to solutions. The measures being taken on farms are showing tangible reductions in GHGs.
- There is a need for industry stakeholders to work together, throughout the entire supply chain.
- It is imperative that the industry continues to align both common targets and a common consistent messaging.
The ERBS extends thanks to everyone who attended for making this such a thought-provoking, insightful, and inspiring event, and a special thanks to our hosts, Bord Bia, for their incredible support.
ERBS looks forward to future events and continued collaboration with members, to drive a positive change in Beef Sustainability throughout Europe and across the agricultural industry.