Mark Browne from Wexford has been elected Chairman of the IFA Grain Committee, taking over from Liam Dunne following his four year term.
Mark is a tillage farmer from Enniscorthy, farming over 300ha of cereals, oilseeds and protein crops in conjunction with his brother. Prior to the closure of Irish Sugar, Mark was a significant sugar beet grower. He dries and stores much of his own grain but also produces significant quantities of premium crops such as malting barley, milling wheat and oats.
Mark previously chaired the Boortmalt Malting Barley Steering Group and was key to the development of the fledgling distilling malting barley supply chain a number of years ago. Mark and his brother have pioneered the use of min and strip till techniques on their farm over the last number of years.
Speaking about his priorities for the role, Mark said he and the committee will focus on:
- Maximising the price for grain, proteins and straw from the 2018 harvest;
- Promoting native cereals and proteins to maximise their inclusion in compound feed rations and farm-to-farm sales;
- Developing an assurance scheme with co-ops and grain merchants to give greater visibility around the inclusion of native cereals and proteins in compound feed rations;
- Revising the malting barley model to deliver greater returns for malting barley with an increased premium for distilling barley; and,
- Examining land use opportunities for crops and crop residues to develop alternative income streams.