Agri Aware and IFA have launched a new campaign to raise awareness about the importance of Irish agriculture, the variety of sectors producing food in this country and the critical role it plays in the economy and society.
The campaign is a showcase of the predominantly grass-based, family-farm sectors. It aims to increase the general public’s connection with farmers. Their stories of commitment and pride in their work are often overlooked in the ongoing debate about the sector’s future.
Agri Aware Chairman Alan Jagoe said, “Agri Aware was established 25 years ago to create a national awareness of the value of modern agriculture and farming. In the intervening time, while agriculture has continued to play a critical role in Ireland’s economic and social development, the connection between farmers and the public has lessened. We want to strengthen that connection”.
IFA President Tim Cullinan said, “Throughout 2020, during a global pandemic, Irish farmers continued to produce top-quality, nutritious food. This, in turn, supported Ireland’s hard-hit economy. Agriculture is Ireland’s largest indigenous sector and has, at various points in recent history, literally ‘sustained’ Ireland and its people through some of its most challenging periods. However, a narrative is taking shape that might lead people to think that we don’t need the food produced here or the families who work so hard to produce it.”
“I hear from members all the time how they don’t recognise themselves in how they are portrayed in certain sections of the media and by some environmental commentators. The vast majority of farmers in Ireland are committed to climate action.”
“They want to continue a legacy that has been passed down through generations and ensure that their children will be able to continue to live and work on the land if they choose. We want our vibrant family-farm model to stay. This campaign will bring these families to the forefront and tell their stories.”
Alan Jagoe continued, “We are grateful to IFA for their support in getting this campaign off the ground. We were delighted that the Irish Farmers Journal has joined us as a supporter. We hope that along with other initiatives underway, such as our own ‘AgCredible’ social media programme; the National Dairy Council’s ‘From the ground up’ campaign; and the work of Meat and Dairy Facts; we can rebuild the connection between the producers of food, the products they supply and the people who consume them every day”.
Today sees the launch of on-farm signs in every county. They have also created a digital campaign that will run throughout the summer months and a billboard campaign that will appear as restrictions continue to ease and people begin to more freely around the country. The campaign will showcase farmers from around Ireland involved in various sectors such as livestock, dairy, tillage and fruit and vegetables.