IFA Research & Innovation
Welcome to IFA’s Research & Innovation Hub
There are a wide range of technological innovations promising to significantly improve the way we grow, produce and distribute food. The challenges facing farmers today are immense: producing more and better using less inputs, in an environmentally sustainable way while keeping up the pace with consumer demands. So we will need to harness these technologies for our benefit.
IFA promotes farmers as being central to the innovation process and should be seen as co-creators to help us make the right choices regarding the development and exploitation of new technologies, tools and techniques. We are working closely with our partners in the different business and research sectors to find the best solutions that focus on real farmer problems. We are here to support and work with farmers as they embark on what can be a steep learning curve.
IFA is involved in a number of technology, research and innovation projects nationally and at an EU level. IFA advocates for the voice of the farmer in these projects, making sure that the farmer perspective is central to all solutions and research carried out, so that output and deliverables from these projects can help our members make the right decisions for their businesses. We are highlighting some of the technology and research initiatives that IFA is currently involved with below with more details available from each project’s website.
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Horizon 2020 Projects
Horizon 2020 was the EU’s research and innovation funding programme from 2014-2020 with a budget of nearly €80 billion.
IFA are involved in three projects within the Horizon 2020 programme.
BovINE is an EU funded thematic network project focused on knowledge exchange to help address the challenges and drive the sustainability of the European beef farming sector and community. The project connects with farmers across Europe by providing an open platform – the BovINE Knowledge Hub – where beef farmers, advisers, member organisations and researchers can exchange knowledge and share experiences to drive awareness and adoption on farms of innovative and proven practices.
Learn more about the BovINE project and IFA’s participation below.
The main objective of Ploutos project is to help re-balance the agri food value chain and enhance its sustainability by establishing a Sustainable Innovation Framework
IFA is involved in the Irish pilot project where from a variety of commercially available sensors, a subset will be tested on 6 Ambassador farms, so that ‘real-time data’ can be collected, analysed and used to develop models and effective decision support tools for farmers.
A toolkit of robust, reliable and verified sensors is envisaged, together with the most appropriate local Smart Farming solutions, and this toolkit will be rolled out to a larger farmer group. This toolkit will support farmers in optimizing their businesses, in proving the sustainability/low environmental impact, and consequently support a high market value for their produce. Furthermore, the data will be used to support new food and food tourism products and services with evidence-based credence attributes, which will be co-created with the local actors (through Enterprise Ireland). A brand for the Dingle Peninsula will be built to secure the region as a destination of choice, supported by data proving low food miles and low carbon footprints.
Whether you are a “small”, or a “large” farmer; a dairy, poultry, fruit and veg, or arable farmer; a young or older farmer, DEMETER offers several benefits to you.
DEMETER is a European-funded project which aims to empower farmers and farmer cooperatives in two main ways. First, by allowing farmers to use their existing machinery and platforms to deliver new, integrated knowledge to help decision-making. Second, by easing farmers’ updating or acquisition of machinery, platforms and sensors ensuring technologies speak a common language meaning they can be easily connected, combined and cooperate with each other.
Digital Agricultural Technology: Attitudes & Adoption Study
Farm Business Skillnet, IFA’s training division, recently undertook a significant research project which was funded and supported by Skillnet Ireland. We surveyed almost 800 individual farmers and conducted focus groups and interviews with IFA committees and other industry stakeholders. The goal of this research is to:
- establish the current awareness and usage of farm technology,
- the barriers and positives of digital technology
- and the most effective approaches to training and education and any additional support requirements.
Key players across the industry such as agri-businesses, government, technology companies, research bodies, and most importantly farmers themselves, can use these the findings and recommendations from this research to help farming transition to a digital future which will benefit the economy as a whole.