West Cork business Carbery launches sustainability bonus scheme FutureProof for farmer suppliers.
Carbery is set to offer a total €6m annual bonus fund for suppliers who meet four sustainability criteria under the FutureProof initiative.
As part of FutureProof, in 2023, Carbery suppliers will receive 1c per litre bonus in exchange for the implementation of milk recording, meeting certain EBI (Economic Breeding Index) thresholds, commitment to an ASSAP (water quality) assessment and using protected urea.
“We have a long record of pioneering sustainable approaches and promoting sustainability on our farms”
To assist farmers in preparing for the full roll out of the scheme next year, in 2022 Carbery will be paying a 0.5cpl bonus to every farmer who signs up. In opting in for FutureProof in 2022, farmers will commit to a sustainability pledge, and agree to undergo an ASSAP assessment for water quality.
Cream of the crop
“Carbery is a company with a commitment to sustainability since our foundation, and this ethos has come from the attitude of our 1,220 farmer suppliers,” said Carbery CEO Jason Hawkins.
“We have a long record of pioneering sustainable approaches and promoting sustainability on our farms. Whether through our Carbery Trees program under which 100,000 trees have been planted on West Cork farms, our Carbery Greener Dairy farmers programme, underway since 2012, or our Farm Zero C project, we have always prioritised sustainable approaches.
“The FutureProof bonus will ensure Carbery farmers take their sustainability approach to the next level, and that we remain to the forefront of farming sustainably. We have chosen to focus on four very specific, measurable areas, which we believe will have the most impact, in terms of reducing environmental impact, improving efficiency on farms, and shifting the dial quickly on emissions and water quality, which is what we need to see in order to secure the future of dairy farming.”
He added: “Though we are starting from a good base, with years of positive action behind us, farmers have a huge challenge ahead to meet the agriculture reduction target of 25% as set out in the Climate Action Plan. We will support our farmers all the way, and Futureproof will be a key enabler of this. We look forward to working together with Government on their proposals to do the same.”
The FutureProof bonus will take full effect in 2023. Implementation of all four FutureProof measures would see the average Carbery supplier earning an additional €5,000/annum from the bonus. This is in addition to savings and gains that would be made through efficiencies and increased productivity.
From 2023, Carbery suppliers who meet the following measures will receive a bonus of 1c per litre of milk:
- Milk recording at least four times a year
- Using a percentage of protected urea as part of their total fertiliser use
- Commit to an ASSAP assessment
- Are meeting certain EBI thresholds
For 2022, all Carbery suppliers signing up to the sustainability pledge will be paid 0.5c bonus as part of FutureProof with the intention that this will allow them to make necessary investments to achieve the full bonus in 2023. Any supplier receiving the 2022 payment will sign a Sustainability Pledge and complete an ASSAP water quality assessment if requested to do so.
“This announcement is timely, given the targets announced for farmers last week, but the work on finalising this initiative has been underway by the Board of Carbery for some time now,” said Carbery chair Cormac O’Keefe.
“We are delighted to be launching a positive initiative to support farmers through the changes ahead. We already have a significant number of farmers who are milk recording, implementing genetic gain and are using protected urea. The bonus means that these farmers will be rewarded for good practice, and farmers who want to make the switch to some of these practices or maximise what they are doing in these areas will be supported to do so.
“We have consistently said that we know our farmers are committed to farming responsibly and sustainably. They just need to be supported to try new measures. Through the introduction of this bonus, we are committed to providing this support, and to continue to champion responsible, ethical and sustainable farming, producing quality milk.”
Main image at top: Launching Carbery’s sustainability bonus for farmers, Futureproof, on the farm of John Buttimer, Paddock, Coppeen, West Cork. Also pictured are John’s wife Eunice, children Catelyn (10), Euan (8) and Eliza Mae (5), John’s father, John Snr, Carbery CEO Jason Hawkins, Chairman, Cormac O’Keeffe and Director of Sustainability Enda Buckley. Picture: Andy Gibson