- YFCU Agri Food Conference opened with stakeholder discussion on the future of the industry
- Follow up sessions included Brexit, finances, and sustainability
Last week, key supply chain representatives came together for the first session of the YFCU Virtual Agri Food Conference, forming a panel to answer pressing questions on the future of the industry. The panel was joined by Minister Edwin Poots MLA, who opened the session and outlined his vision for the future of Northern Irish Agriculture. He expressed that while it was important to retain current production levels, it is also important to adapt and evolve farming practices to improve economic and environmental performance in relation to our carbon footprint, air and water quality and biodiversity.
The panel also included UFU Beef & Lamb Chairman Sam Chesney, CEO of Livestock Meat Commission Ian Stevenson, Agriculture and Sustainable Sourcing Manager for McDonald’s Harriet Wilson and Dunbia’s Head of Agriculture Sarah Haire.
Following a comprehensive discussion on the key issues facing the industry, a Q&A session with the 120 attendees looked more deeply at matters effecting various stakeholders. Questions posed to the panel were centred around sustainability, an area in which, Sarah Haire, Head of Agriculture for Dunbia has significant experience as Chair of the UK Cattle Sustainability Platform.
Sarah explained that as a business, Dunbia is working tirelessly to become more sustainable throughout their entire supply chain. By committing to Science Based Targets, Dunbia has developed emission reduction targets and reports its emissions and progress against targets annually. In line with its emission reduction ambitions, Sarah also stated that collaboration amongst all members of the supply chain is key to making meaningful change.
Sarah Haire said:
“As an industry, there is huge opportunity to showcase our high quality and traceability attributes, animal welfare standards and environmental credentials in a worldwide marketplace. However, for us to be able to make these opportunities reality, our priority within the business is to collect meaningful data across our supply chain through industry collaboration so that we can make these claims concrete”.
The panel noted the need and importance to support young entrants into the farming industry. Sarah Haire stressed that their base knowledge of technology and openness to new ways of doing things will be a vital addition if the industry is to become more data driven and efficient in farming practices in order to meet sustainability goals.
Dunbia is proud to support YFCU through their annual Agri-Food Conference and look forward to a productive calendar of events for 2021.