Ireland Makes a Big Impression at 2024 EIP-AGRI Innovation Awards

May 17, 2024 | EIP-AGRI, Innovation

Since EIP-AGRI was established in 2012, more than 3,400 Operational Groups (OGs) have been created to increased productivity and sustainability within agriculture and forestry in the EU. The EIP-AGRI Innovation Awards 2024 were organised by the EU CAP Network support unit for Innovation and Knowledge exchange to celebrate the diversity of innovative OG projects and their achievements over the past eight years.

The main objective of the awards was to recognise and reward outstanding EIP-AGRI OGs which have developed innovative practices, solutions, products and processes. From the original 3,400 OGs, 30 were shortlisted for the awards. Ireland saw three OGs shortlisted for an award, which was quite an achievement for a small country.

The three OG projects were:
Sustainable Uplands Agri-environment Scheme (SUAS), Wicklow and Dublin Mountains
Illaun Farm-Forest Alliance, Co. Clare
BRIDE – Biodiversity Regeneration in a Dairying Environment, Co. Cork and Co. Waterford

There were six award categories and within each category, five OGs were selected as nominees. From those 30 nominees, one winner per category received an award. A seventh award was given to the ‘public favourite’.

The winners were announced during the awards ceremony in Estoril, Portugal on the 7th of May which was part of the EU CAP Network Conference ‘EIP-AGRI Operational Groups: Innovation in practice’.

The Illaun Farm Forest Alliance OG from Co. Clare did Ireland proud by taking home the top prize in the Sustainable Forest Management category. The OGs in this category were judged on innovative forest management approaches related to, for example: climate-smart forestry, pests and diseases management, nature restoration, forest ecosystem services, new technologies and circular bioeconomy.

Although the other two Irish OGs went home empty-handed, they still made a strong impression. The large numbers of farmers participating in these projects was noted by many. Donal Sheehan from the BRIDE Project participated in a discussion panel on grassroots innovation at the event, where he spoke eloquently on the role that OGs play in acting as translators between farmers and researchers.

To learn more about EIP-AGRI please click here.

Source of Images: EU CAP Network

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