On Tuesday 15th December, AgriSearch held an informational webinar for those interested in the recently announced Beacon Farm Network, attracting the interest of 65 farmers from across the province.
In early 2020, AgriSearch commenced a strategy review, acknowledging the changes in both research funding availability and agricultural policy. As a result, the concept of a Beacon Farm Network was formed to specifically address the challenges that farmers will face in the coming years.
Peter Morrow, AgriSearch Vice-Chairman opened the webinar with a welcome and introduction followed by General Manager Jason Rankin highlighting the key aspects of the strategy review, as well as the objectives of the Beacon Farm Network. Jillian Hoy, Research Manager, then described the intended data collection methods and the selection process for farmers interested in becoming participants.
In addition, Dr Denise Lowe from AFBI provided a brief insight to the Hills and Uplands Beef & Sheep (HUBS) project. She encouraged farmers from hill and upland systems who are expressing interest in the Beacon Farm Network to also apply for the HUBS project, to act as co-researchers during the second experimental phase of the project.
To conclude the webinar, Peter Morrow then facilitated the Q&A element of the evening, as participants posed a number of questions to the panel.
It is AgriSearch’s aim to recruit a range of beef, sheep and dairy farmers from a range of systems across Northern Ireland for the Beacon Farm Network. These farms within the Network will collect data to form baselines across the three key themes of People, Planet and Profit, and allow for benchmarking within the NI industry. Farmers who are interested in participating in the Beacon Farm Network can apply using the online application form (links provided below), before noon on 4th January 2021.
- Click here for the Online Application Form
- See the PDF version of the Application Form (for reference only)
- Click here for the Information Pack for farmers.
A recording of the event can also be found on YouTube for more information -