Two students from St Brogan’s College, Bandon, have carried out extensive research into farmers’ attitudes towards climate change and their understanding of low-emissions beef production.

Titled Unlocking the Potential of Low-Emissions Beef through Education, Sarah Teape and Alison Darcy’s research concludes that a comprehensive education programme is needed to aid farmers in understanding how they can make changes on their farms to reduce Ireland’s carbon footprint.

The girls are both in first year at St Brogan’s College and the research was carried out as part of their submission to this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, taking place from 12 to 14 January.

The topic was chosen as the two students wanted to focus on climate action in a farming context.

“We are proud of the strong tradition of beef farming in the Bandon area. We want the Irish family farm to survive into the future, but we know beef production must be sustainable for that to happen,” said Sarah.

“We wanted to find out how much farmers knew about producing low-emissions beef, and how open they would be to learning more about it.”

Encouraging findings

Their findings were encouraging, according to Alison.

“We surveyed 100 farmers, and we were delighted to see that over 87% of them were willing to change their farming methods in the next five years,” she said.

“While the survey showed low awareness of some types of farm practices which can reduce carbon footprint, many of the farmers have already begun to study sustainability. It’s clear that they have an eye to the future, which is great news,” she added.