The move by Irish Distillers to formally recognise the high environmental standards of green spring barley growers is a welcome development, according to IFA National Grain Chairman, Mark Browne.
He was speaking at the launch of the new ‘Green Spring Barley Scheme’ at Midleton Distillery, Co. Cork this morning. IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe attended the launch.
“IFA has engaged in constructive discussions with Irish Distillers in recent months. These centred on the need to support farmers who provide the green spring barley, which is used in whiskeys such as Jameson, Powers, Redbreast and Midleton Very Rare.”
“The quality of this barley is exceptional. Achieving this requires significant additional care and costs, which are borne by the farmer. The scheme announced today recognises the role that farmers play in the sustainable production of one of our most valuable agri-food exports.”
According to figures released by Bord Bia Irish drinks exports have increased by 8% to €1.45 billion in 2019, with over 50% of the growth coming from Irish whiskey. “The primary producer must share in this success and the ‘Green Spring Barley Scheme’ initiative is a positive development in this regard,” Mark Browne said.
There will be an additional payment of €15 per/tonne associated with the scheme payable directly to those growers who meet the environmental and sustainability requirements outlined in the scheme.
The Green Spring Barley Scheme will help reduce the carbon footprint and promote biodiversity on farms. As part of the programme, in year one farmers will also participate in a survey with a view to collating data and identifying further measures to achieve these objectives.
Conor McQuaid, chief executive of Irish Distillers said, “Our approach to sustainability is holistic and centres on the grain to glass journey. We value the quality Irish barley used to make our whiskeys and place a particular emphasis on sourcing, certification and traceability. For this reason, from 2020, we have decided to introduce a tailored sustainability programme for these growers which will support tillage farmers in delivering further environmental benefits on their farms”.