Farm Sustainability Champion, Shane Fitzgerald
Dairy farmer Shane Fitzgerald from Portlaw in County Waterford is Living Proof of the commitment of Glanbia Ireland’s milk suppliers to the sustainability of their family farms and local communities.
Farming with his dad John in the shadows of the Comeragh mountains and with distant views of the Dungarvan and Tramore Irish coastline, Shane is dedicated to the environmental and economic well-being of his farm.
“In recent years I was delighted to get the opportunity to become the next generation of Fitzgeralds to farm here in Portlaw. I am committed to making a real difference when it comes to sustainability. For me, sustainability is about farming with nature while improving economic performance through adopting the latest research and innovation, to future proof the family farm. I know this will also have a positive impact on the wider rural environment.”
Shane is one of a number of pioneering Glanbia Ireland milk suppliers that are part of the Open Source Future Farm programme ran by Glanbia Ireland in partnership with Teagasc. This programme is part of a national collaborative initiative in Ireland called Signpost – Farmers for Climate Action. The Signpost programme is a multi-annual campaign to prompt climate action by all Irish farmers, and achieve early progress in reducing gaseous emissions from Irish agriculture (while also improving water quality, maintaining and in some cases improving) biodiversity and creating more profitable and sustainable farming enterprises.
As part of the Open Source Future Farm programme LIDAR studies are taking place to measure carbon that is being sequestered.
Shane recently installed 21 solar panels using Glanbia Ireland’s FarmGen service, to displace fossil fuel use on his farm. “Our sustainability journey started many years ago here on the farm. Several years ago now my Dad signed up to the requirements of Bord Bia’s Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS). I recently had an ASSAP water quality improvement plan prepared for the farm and biodiversity assessment. We are also a winter home to whooper swans from Iceland here each year.
ASSAP is the Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advice Programme, which is working with farmers in a free and confidential advisory service to help improve water quality.
“As we look to the future we, like so many other Glanbia Ireland milk suppliers we are ready to continue to play our part. Everyone has a role to play.”