Mother and daughter farmers Joanne and Bridget Cushen, based in Goresbridge, Co. Kilkenny, have been recognized for their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint through the use of technology. The Rise Community Fund, supported by National Broadband Ireland (NBI) and Granahan McCourt, awarded the Cushens a grant of €1,000 for their innovative approach to biodiversity and sustainable farming.
The Rise Community Fund, in partnership with Macra, held a national competition to find young farmers with entrepreneurial plans to incorporate technology into their farming practices. Joanne and Bridget Cushen, who operate a diverse range of farming enterprises including dairy, suckler, calf to beef, sheep, tillage, and forestry, impressed the judges with their commitment to utilizing technology to improve efficiency and sustainability.
Joanne explained their goal, saying, “Our aim with the family farm is to produce high-quality products in a sustainable way, utilizing all available technologies and new research. We have a keen interest in biodiversity and sustainable agriculture and try to be quick to embrace new technology to reduce our labor input and carbon footprint.”
The Cushens plan to use the grant to help cover the cost of a health monitoring system for their suckler weanlings. This system will provide them with 24-hour information about the animals, which graze on parts of the farm located about 900 feet above sea level. By utilizing remote monitoring technology, the Cushens will only need to commute to this area of the farm once a day, allowing them to allocate more time to other aspects of their business.
David McCourt, technology entrepreneur, founder of RISE, and chair of NBI, commended Joanne for her proactive approach to incorporating technology into their family farm. He stated, “By combining technology with her entrepreneurial mindset, she’s not only making the farm more efficient but also driving real environmental benefits which will make the farm more sustainable.”
This recognition highlights the importance of embracing new advances in technology within the agricultural sector. The use of remote monitoring systems and other innovative solutions can greatly improve efficiency, reduce labor requirements, and lower carbon emissions. The Cushens’ dedication to sustainable farming practices serves as an inspiration to other farmers looking to enhance their operations through the integration of technology.
The Rise Community Fund’s support for entrepreneurial young farmers demonstrates the commitment of National Broadband Ireland and Granahan McCourt to fostering innovation and sustainability within the farming community. By providing grants and recognition to those who are actively seeking ways to improve their businesses through technology, they are contributing to the overall advancement of the agricultural industry in Ireland.
The future of farming lies in the effective utilization of technology to maximize productivity while minimizing environmental impact. The Cushens’ success story serves as a reminder that embracing innovation can lead to tangible benefits for farmers and the wider community. As technology continues to advance, it is crucial for farmers to stay informed and open to new ideas that can revolutionize their operations.
In conclusion, the grant awarded to Joanne and Bridget Cushen is a testament to their dedication to sustainable farming practices and their willingness to embrace technology. Their use of remote monitoring systems and their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint are commendable. The Rise Community Fund’s support for young farmers like the Cushens is a step in the right direction towards a more innovative and sustainable agricultural sector in Ireland.