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43rd ICOS National Conference

ICOS President, Jerry Long pictured at the ICOS National Conference

The 43rd ICOS National Conference took place in the Killashee House Hotel on 7th November with Climate Change and Animal Welfare the key topics under discussion.

In his opening remarks, ICOS President Jerry Long stated “This is a critical time for our farming and agribusiness co-operative sector, as we are faced with unprecedented challenges to the way we do business, and we are increasingly tasked by our customers and other stakeholders to ensure that our production systems reflect the values that they hold dear.”

“While it may have been tempting for a while to ignore Climate Change, and to say that our sector didn’t cause it and that we didn’t need to adapt our practices; it’s glaringly obvious now that we have some very heavy lifting to do to ensure that we can’t ever be accused of adding to the problem. Indeed, we need to demonstrate that we are a key part of the solution.”

“This will be a challenge to all of us, but the good work done by Teagasc and others has demonstrated that if we can embrace new technologies and practices, we can actually improve our efficiency as an industry, while reducing or environmental footprint.”

He added “We are all aware that the consumption of meat and dairy products is being increasingly challenged by groups within society. We know that they have a focus on the environment, but they also have a huge focus on the welfare of our animals. Publicity campaigns can paint even normal husbandry practices in a bad way, so we must work very hard to ensure that all aspects of our farming operations treat animals with respect and ensure that their welfare is in no way compromised.”

The presentations delivered by all speakers at the conference including Gerry Boyle from Teagasc and Bill Callanan from the Department of Agriculture can be accessed via the following link: http://icos.ie/news/presentations/

Eamonn Farrell – Agri Food Policy Executive