David Ward of Bridgetown Farm in Iddesleigh, Devon, was awarded The Prince’s Countryside Fund Award in England and Wales at the M&S Farming for the Future Awards, at the Royal Welsh Show, in Builth Wells, Wales.
Bridgetown Farm is a supplier to Dawn Meats’ West Devon facility. David runs a family farm in Devon, farming both beef and lamb, where he manages a herd of 140 suckler cattle and 140 breeding ewes. David has dedicated 40 years of his life to working with the ‘Farms for City Children’ charity, which offers urban children from the age 9 – 11, the unique opportunity to spend a week living and working on a farm in the heart of the countryside, to gain an understanding of rural life, food production and animal welfare. The children come to David’s farm from 31 schools across London, Portsmouth, Barnstaple and Plymouth.
Every morning David picks up the school children and their teachers, from Nethercott House, the Farms for City Children residence, in a specially converted tractor and trailer and they spend the day working on the farm interacting with the farm animals, working in the outdoors and enjoying the fresh air. At any time there are between 36-40 children and teachers working on the farm under David’s guidance.
M&S Farming for the Future is a programme of initiatives which champions sustainability and innovation. The programme is designed to help farmers identify opportunities for improvement, increase their profitability and provide a sustainable supply chain that can continue to deliver quality and innovation for the long term.
David Ward, Owner of Bridgetown Farm said: “I am absolutely delighted to be awarded The Prince’s Countryside Fund Award at the M&S Farming for the Future Awards. The charity is very close to my heart, and over the past 40 years it has been extremely rewarding to see children spending a week on our farm getting a real understanding of where their food comes from, sustainable farming and rural life. These children leave our farm with important information that they can pass on to future generations.”
Isla Roebuck, Operations Director, Dawn Meats (UK), said: “We are very proud of Bridgetown Farm’s win at today’s M&S Farming for the Future Awards and of David’s commitment to educating children about farming, the countryside and food production. At Dawn, we are fully committed to ensuring all of our products have traceability from farm gate to plate, and believe that knowing where your food comes from is of the highest importance. We congratulate David for equipping the hundreds of children who come through his farm every year with this knowledge, teaching them the importance of food production and broadening their horizons by becoming familiar with rural life.”
George Coles of Red Oak Farm in Westbury, Northamptonshire was the runner up in the Outstanding Producer Award for Innovation at the M&S Farming for the Future Awards. The awards ceremony was held at the Royal Welsh Show, Builth Wells, Wales.
The M&S Farming for the Future Awards recognise farmers who show the utmost dedication to farming sustainability. The Outstanding Producer Award rewards farmers who show dedication to the 4 E’s – Efficiency, Ethics, Education, and Environment.
Red Oak Farm is a supplier to Dawn Meats’ Cardington facility in Bedfordshire. The farm works a combination of grassland and arable crop production, and a 120 strong beef herd. Coles plans to expand the herd to 200 breeding cattle, and is developing a pedigree Red Aberdeen Angus herd using imported embryos from Argentina.
Coles has embraced new technology as a means of improving the health, welfare and productivity of his cattle, such as a thermal imaging camera for early identification of hip and foot problems in cattle, allowing for targeted treatment and lower antibiotic reliance. He has also employed use of the Moocall alert system which provides him with advance notification if a cow is calving. This system uses a sensor attached to the cow’s tail to alert the farmer by text message when a cow is about to calve, ensuring that he can be present and of assistance if required.
Coles is committed to constantly improving his own knowledge of sustainable beef production and is an active member of three beef discussion groups. He is a member of the AHDB Better Returns Programme, and has hosted several events for AHDB Beef & Lamb at Red Oak Farm. He has also pioneered the use of a new cordless vacuum pump for milking, which allows farmers to milk cows quickly without risk of being kicked, and hopes to offer this product for sale in the UK market shortly.
Commenting on the award, Mr. George Coles, Red Oak Farms: “It is an honour to be runner up in the Outstanding Producer award category on behalf of Red Oak Farms and Dawn Meats. It is extremely rewarding to see the progress that can be made in cattle farming by embracing new technology and investing in our most valuable assets, our livestock. I have always believed in the need to innovate to ensure the farm is as productive and as successful as possible, and I am very pleased to see our efforts recognised today.”
Commenting Mr. Isla Roebuck, Operations Director Dawn Meats (UK): “George Coles is worthy of the recognition he has received in this award, and exemplifies exactly what we look for in our beef supply chain. Sustainability is essential to the future of agriculture, and we are very fortunate to work with suppliers like Red Oak Farms whose principles and commitment to innovation and sustainability are in line with our own”
The world’s most coveted blind tasted awards, The Great Taste, has released the stars of 2016 and Dawn Meats is amongst the producers celebrating having been awarded gold stars for 5 products, including a 3-star for our ‘Ridings Reserve Marbled Standing Rib’, which has also been listed in the Top 50 Foods of 2016. The Guild of Fine Food underpins the British speciality food sector, with the recognised Great Taste Awards for produce that surpasses excellence in quality, taste and innovation. To receive a 3-star rating, every judge at each judging session, had to unanimously agree that the product had achieved absolute perfection by delivering exceptional quality and taste. Dawn Meats are proud to carry the Great Taste logo as it is a badge of honour but more importantly a signpost to our wonderful tasting products.
Products to receive gold star status this year include:
3-star Ridings Reserve Marbled Standing Rib - also listed in the Top 50 Foods
2-star West Country Choice PGI 21 Day Matured T-Bone Steak
2-star West Country Choice 28 Day Matured Picanha
2-star Ridings Reserve Cap on French Trimmed Rack of Lamb
1-star Caledonia Crown Scotch PGI Porterhouse Steak, Matured on the Bone 21 Days.
Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste values taste above all else, with branding and packaging removed prior to tasting. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1-, 2- or 3-star award.
This year saw the Great Taste judging road-shows take place in Tipperary, Belfast and at the Guild’s Headquarters in Gillingham, Dorset. Judged over an intense 49 days from March through to early July, by over 400 of the nation’s most discerning palates belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, restauranteurs, producers and a host of food writers and journalists, Great Taste is widely recognised as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality fine food and drink. Of the 10,000 products that were entered this year, only 141 products achieved the highest and most coveted rating, three stars – including our very own ‘Ridings Reserve Marbled Standing Rib’. There were 878 products that received 2-stars and 2,520 were awarded 1-star, meaning that only 35% of entries were accredited.
Commentary from the judges on our 3-star accredited ‘Ridings Reserve Marbled Standing Rib’ included: “This looks fabulous, has a wonderful aroma, and cuts beautifully both with and against the grain. It tastes as good as it looks, full flavoured, with a delicious nutty outside, rich tasty fat and a glorious tasting meaty flavour that lingers”. “A soft and rich melting texture, perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this well flavoured rib is the buttery texture”.
Dawn Meats were delighted to receive a double accolade at this year’s SuperMeat & Fish Awards which took place on July 14th in the Hilton Park Lane, London.
With over 500 industry professionals in attendance each year, these awards have grown to become one of the most prestigious events in the industry calendar. Rewarding excellence in retail success and product innovation in the manufacturing of meat, poultry and fish products, these awards acknowledge those that push the boundaries and drive the industry forward to greater heights.
Dawn Meats were delighted to accept the awards for ‘Best Beef Product’ for their product as supplied to Asda, Butchers Selection Pastrami Beef with Mustard Pickle Sauce and Emmental Cheese Sauce and ‘Best Ready Meal Product’ also supplied to Asda, Extra Special Duck Á L’Orange.
Kristian Gabrielsen, Asda Account Manager, Dawn Meats, said “We are honoured and delighted to have won awards for both Best Beef and Best Ready Meal tonight. This is a fantastic achievement and is testament to our dedicated team to be recognised for their hard work, passion and commitment that they continually place on creating innovative award winning products that continually exceed the expectation of our customers”.
Pictured with the awards (l-r): Lisa Gough, Gilbert Foster, Kristian Gabrielsen, David Shapland, Natalie Williams, Rebecca Bassett, Kirsty Hughes and Ryan Lewis, of Dawn Meats.
Dawn Meats celebrated a significant milestone with McDonald’s Ireland today following a visit by McDonald’s Director of Development and Supply Chain Nigel McGuire, to the production site at Carroll’s Cross in Waterford, which was opened by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in June 2012.
The plant now produces more than 400m beef burgers per year for McDonald’s with product destined for markets in Ireland, the UK and Continental Europe. More than 50 Dawn Meats staff were congratulated on reaching this important milestone and for their on-going commitment to sustainability and continuous improvement.
Commenting on this achievement Nigel McGuire said:
“McDonald’s is a committed supporter of the Irish agri-business sector and we’re proud of the strength of our relationship with Dawn Meats, which has led to one in every five burgers sold in McDonald’s restaurants across Europe being of Irish origin. McDonald’s adds nothing but salt and pepper to its burgers and the team at Dawn Meats have consistently helped us to deliver great tasting products to our customers.”
All of the burgers produced for McDonald’s are made with whole cuts of 100% Irish beef and sourced through the Dawn Meats network of accredited farms across Ireland, guaranteeing a closed loop supply of quality assured beef. McDonald’s is the single largest purchaser of Irish beef by volume, purchasing approximately 40,000 tonnes of Irish beef annually.
Dawn Meats Group Commercial Director Richard Clinton said:
“We are delighted with the progress achieved with McDonald’s to date and we are on target to achieve our ambition to produce one beef burger per year for every person in the EU. Active collaboration with McDonald’s across a number of disciplines has resulted in the gains made to date and we look forward to further progress in the years ahead as the McDonald’s Global business grows.”
As verified members of Origin Green, Dawn Meats process 100% Quality Assured Irish beef on behalf of McDonald’s sourced directly from Irish farmers who are members of the Bord Bia’s Beef Quality Assurance scheme. The plant now sources 100% of its electricity needs from renewable sources including solar and wind powered public lighting, with all waste water treated through an integrated constructed wetland. More than 65% of all waste is recycled and all waste has been diverted from landfill.
Dawn Meats and the 2,000 farmers who attended the recent Open Day at Newford Farm in Athenry, Co. Galway have teamed up to raise over €2,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charity (RMHC).
Yesterday at the Bloom BBQ Bliss stand sponsored by Dawn Meats, Marian Carroll CEO RMHC received a cheque from Paul Nolan for the funds raised during the open day.
One year on, after being awarded a Gold Medal in the Concept Garden Category at Bloom 2015, some of the key features of the Bloom garden which were transferred to Crumlin, are still enjoyed by staff, volunteers, parents and families.
Commenting on the collaboration, Paul Nolan, Group Development Manager, Dawn Meats said:
“We have worked with the Ronald McDonald House for many years now, and continue to be inspired by the support given by RMHC during the illness of a child. Anyone who has had the opportunity to visit the Ronald McDonald House, will be aware of it’s very special atmosphere and we continue to encourage others to show their support and offer assistance to this most worthy cause.”
Commenting Marian Carroll, Volunteer CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charity said
“We opened the first Ronald McDonald House in November 2004, and since then, we have provided accommodation, care and support for families from all over Ireland. Families stay for a few days, a few weeks and in many cases for many months. Our recent attendance at the Newford Open day is just one of the ways we try to raise awareness in the broader community, of the work we do to assist families experiencing challenges in their lives”
Since 2014 the Ronald McDonald House Charity has worked to keep families close to their sick child by providing a “home from home” with home-cooked meals, accommodation and a welcome living environment on the grounds of Crumlin Children’s Hospital. The ethos of the House is to give families the practical supports to stay together and assist each other when faced with serious or long-term illnesses.
Dawn Meats provide quality meats to assist with the House Meal Program and is a long-term supporter of the charity.
Pictured: Paul Nolan, Group Development Manager, Dawn Meats and Marian Carroll, Volunteer CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charity standing next to one of the BBQ mascots on the Dawn Meats-sponsored BBQ Bliss stand at the Bloom 2016 festival.
Dawn Meats in partnership with Costco were delighted to accept the award for ‘Best Pork / Pigmeat Product’ at this year’s Meat Management Awards which took place at the London Hilton Hotel, Park Lane on Friday 20th May 2016.
As one of the highlights of the meat industry calendar, the annual Meat Management Awards sets a benchmark for recognising excellence throughout the meat industry. Dawn Meats was awarded ‘Best Pork / Pigmeat Product’ for their Chicago Style BBQ Pork Ribs as supplied to Costco.
With continuous investment in market and consumer insight and research and development, Dawn Meats are committed to producing consistently high quality meat products through innovation that meet the evolving demands of today’s modern consumer.
Commenting on the award, David Angell, NPD Manager, Dawn Meats said: “We are delighted to have won ‘Best Pork / Pigmeat Product’. Here at Dawn Meats we have a strong track record of producing award winning products, which is testament to the great talent and commitment of our colleagues who work relentlessly to consistently deliver great quality, service and innovation that our customers and in turn consumers expect. Winning this award is a great achievement and we are incredible honoured”.
Pictured L-R: Gyles Brandreth with Vivek Bharadia of Costco, Kristian Gabrielsen of Dawn Meats, Liane Canwell of Costco, Dermott Slade of Dawn Meats and category partner Keith Fisher of AHDB Pork.
See Dawn Meats feature and advert in the Meat Management Awards 2016 Brochure on pages 36 & 37: http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk//launch.aspx?eid=1542615e-c403-4f3e-a0f9-271e55ad41d5
Dawn Meats was awarded “Green Large Organisation of the Year” and the “Sustainable Supply Chain Achievement Award” at the prestigious Green Awards 2016 which took place at the Double Tree Hilton, Dublin.
The annual event at which the cream of Ireland's green industry is recognised, was hosted by Colm O’Regan with the key note address given by the acting Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly T.D. Over the course of the evening, awards were presented to 25 progressive national organisations, leaders and teams.
Niall Browne, Dawn Meats CEO commented “we are delighted to have won these two prestigious awards. They recognise the combined efforts of hundreds of people from Dawn Meats over many years who work towards our company goal of being Europe’s most sustainable meat company. Dawn Meats has set itself demanding 2020 targets to reduce water and energy intensity by 40% and emission intensity by 50%. It is particularly rewarding to receive the sustainable supply chain achievement award after our many years of working collaboratively with our primary farmer suppliers and our customers.”
Dawn Meats has actively promoted initiatives over several years to engage with farmers, research organisations and other interested stakeholders in supporting sustainable agriculture. The company established a demonstration suckler beef farm in 2015 at Newford, Athenry. The Newford farm aims to share best practise in grassland management, breeding, animal health and welfare which will support environmentally and commercially sustainable beef production. Dawn Meats will host an open day on the 25th of May at Newford Farm and all interested parties are welcome. For more information, visit http://www.newfordsucklerbeef.ie/
The Newford Herd officially opens to the public with an open day on Wednesday, 25th May. Attendees on the day will get the opportunity to view the stock on display, find out what's happening on the farm and how it was set up. Matthew Murphy, Farm Manager will be on hand along with representatives from Teagasc, Dawn Meats and the Irish Farmers Journal to answer any questions you may have.
Topics covered on the day include:
- Farm Plan and Projected Profitability
- Grassland Management
- Breeding Plan
- Health Programme
- Innovation Hub
- The Newford Herd Farm is located at Junction 17 just off the M6 motorway at Teagasc, Athenry
- 100 cows
- Stocking Rate: 2.7 L.U/Ha
- System: Steer and heifer finishing 20-24 months
- Cow type: AA and HE/Holstein Friesian Cross
- Terminal Sires: Limousin, Charolais, Simmental
- Calving Period is February - April
- Replacements sourced from the dairy herd
- One labour unit management
- The project is managed by Teagasc, Dawn Meats and the Irish Farmers Journal, with McDonald's also supporting the initiative
COP21 recently agreed targets to keep global warming below 2 degrees and the EU has formally set a 2030 target of reducing emissions by 40%, with member state targets not yet agreed. Given the proportion of Irish emissions related to agriculture, as an industry we can expect further challenge as part of the debate on emissions mitigation, and rightly so.
Due to mega trends of population growth and climate change, countries will have to examine ways of producing foods that are climate resilient, nutrient dense and which optimise the use of renewable resources. Grass-based Irish livestock production will play a significant role in providing a robust and sustainable food production model for consumers.
Agriculture accounts for approximately 19% of global greenhouse gas emissions, allowing for carbon sequestration and accounting for land use change. Energy at 75% accounts for most of the remainder, so it is important that we place agricultural emissions in proper context, in any climate change debate.
Any balanced examination should recognise that beef farming provides significant economic benefits to rural Ireland with Dawn Meats alone spending more than €450m in local communities annually. Many consumers choose beef as a source of high-quality protein, which is appetite-sating and helps with weight control when consumed as part of a healthy balanced diet. It provides many important nutrients such as iron, zinc, potassium and B vitamins with grass fed beef having substantially greater nutrient levels of omega 3 fatty acids, and conjugated linoleic acid. The fact that ruminants convert grass into human edible protein is fundamental to food security and as highlighted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, 70% of the world’s agriculture area is covered by grass. In Ireland this figure is 80% with Europe at 40%.
It is regularly reported that the conversion of feed intake to produce beef is not the most efficient. The relevance of this point must be questioned, given that pasture based livestock, consume renewable grass resources that otherwise would go unexploited. In addition grasslands act as a carbon sink and livestock farming can help reverse carbon emissions through rotational grazing and help offset the natural emissions produced by livestock grazing these same pastures.
In the EU the average CO2 output per kilogram of beef is 22.1kg, whereas in Ireland it is 14% lower. Simply swapping an Irish cow for one produced somewhere else in Europe will actually increase the overall global carbon footprint for the same volume of beef production. So should Irish climate targets propose pushing beef production to Europe or other parts of the world which are more reliant on cereals and soybeans, this will place additional pressure on food supply chains.
Industry is already making significant progress in carbon efficiency and Dawn Meats are playing their part as one of the first members of Origin Green and sponsor of Bord Bia’s Origin Green Program; the world’s leading sustainability program in food production. Dawn’s 2020 targets of reducing water and energy intensity by 40% and emissions intensity by 50% are in excess of national and EU targets.
Dawn Meats have also pioneered and supported other initiatives such as the Better Farm Programme, which promotes profitable and sustainable beef production through improving technical efficiency within the farm gate. Dawn Meats have also established a suckler-beef farm at Newford, Co. Galway designed to promote innovative practices that enhance on-farm sustainability.
During the period 2008 – 2014 Dawn Meats also facilitated an independent study on Irish and British farms, which demonstrated that an average reduction of 23% in carbon emissions could be achieved by measuring, managing and tracking farm inputs. Significant environmental improvements are being made on livestock farms and a recent report from Carnegie Mellon University in the USA found that because of the lower calorie density of fruit and vegetables, in the USA a lower meat diet resulted in both a higher water and energy footprint.
The issue of carbon emissions must be considered in a holistic context, leveraging an abundant national grass resource, considering efficiency, economics & food security. It is clear that the Irish livestock sector can play an integral part of the local and global solution to both climate change and food security. For this reason Dawn Meats were delighted to host the first annual Great Agri-Food Debate in UCD last week with McDonald’s and Bord Bia, which opened the floor to the next generation of agri-food leaders to share their thoughts on one of the most important issues of our generation.