This annual seminar offers farmers the occasion to take a day out to discuss with a panel of experts key issues, opportunities and challenges facing them and their families. The seminar focuses on identifying positive ways in which farmers can continue to contribute to the development of the economy and the community.

Workshops & timetable

10 am - Registration & Coffee
10.30 am - A Rewarding and Bright Future for Dairy Farmers, by Owen Brodie
Owen Brodie runs a dairy farm with his wife, Rose Mary, near Virginia on the shores of Lough Ramor in Co. Cavan. They  run a spring calving herd focusing on good quality milk production from grazed grass. Owen is a member of the Navan Discussion group. He is PRO of Virginia Show and organises the farm conference at its annual show in August each year. In 2017 Owen was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship, investigating the role co-ops play in ensuring the survival of dairy farmers in marginal areas.
11.15 am - Irish Diary: Reassuring the Questioning Consumer, by Zoë Kavanagh
Zoë Kavanagh has headed up the National Dairy Council since 2011 where she has been instrumental in marketing and promoting the Irish dairy category at home and abroad. Zoë is well networked across the global dairy industry and sits on the boards of the European Milk Forum (EMF), International Milk Promotion Group (IMP) and is very involved with the Global Dairy Platform (GDP). She regularly represents the Irish Dairy industry at conferences
and events in Ireland and abroad. Zoë holds a BAgSc degree from UCD (Agriculture & Food Engineering).
12.15 am - Agriculture Policy at Turning Point, by Mairead McGuinness
Mairead McGuinness is the MEP for Midlands-North-West constituency and First Vice-President of the European Parliament. Mairead is an agricultural economist and a member of the Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee and the Constitutional Affairs Committee. As Vice-President, Mairead oversees relations with national parliaments in particular with EU affairs committees of Member State parliaments and has responsibility for the Parliament’s dialogue with religious and non-confessional organisations on EU policies and legislate proposals.
1.15 pm - Lunch
2.30 pm - Enhancing Ecosystems and Agri-environment, by Helen Sheridan
Helen Sheridan is lecturer in Agricultural Ecology and Policy in UCD’s School of Agriculture and Food Science since 2012. Following her B.Agr.Sc she completed a PhD in Agricultural Ecology and then worked as a Post Doctoral
Researcher investigating the influence of farm management practices on biodiversity. Her primary areas of research interest include the potential of multispecies grasslands to enhance ecosystem service delivery; the design, implementation and monitoring of agri-environment schemes; and the classification and management of farmland habitats.
3.30pm - The Challenges of the Beef Industry, by Paul Crosson
Paul Crosson is a Principle Research Scientist with Teagasc at Grange Beef Research Centre where his work involves the economic and environmental assessment of beef cattle production systems. He is a graduate of University
College Dublin from where received a BAgrSc and a PhD in Agricultural Systems Analysis. A major focus of his research is the assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from beef systems, an area where he collaborated with Bord Bia in the development of a farm carbon audit model and the Carbon Navigator, which are the key elements of the farm level sustainability component of Origin Green.

Morning Chairperson

Deirdre O’Shea

She is Executive Director at Agri Aware. Prior to this she worked with the Irish Farmers Association. She has delivered a number of key initiatives in Agri Aware including the National Open Farm Days as well as annual campaigns to communicate the importance of the Common Agricultural Policy to Irish citizens.

Afternoon Chairperson

Tom Hennessy

He has many years experience in management and consultancy in the pig industry. He is a former President of The Pig Health Society and is now a retired beef & suckler farmer in Oldcastle, Co. Meath.