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Dawn Meats were delighted to sponsor the “Beefing Up YDP” senior conference for the second consecutive year. The two day event which was organised by the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society’s Youth Development Programme took place at Nether Pitlochie Farm, Gateside, Perthshire on 20th-21st of February.

The event covered a range of speakers including; George Brown of Dawn Meats who discussed cattle grading and market specifications; Alistair Morton of Galloway McLeod, who spoke about a range of dietary requirements for suckler cow, store, finishing and show cattle diets; vet Andy Crozier who provided a practical guide to animal health across various stages of the production cycle and Barbara Webster of Breedplan who gave a seminar on understanding EBV’s. The Sunday morning activities included a public speaking workshop and a ring craft and judging etiquette discussion group from freelance stockman Andrew Hughes.

George Brown of Dawn Meats told YDP participants “Over the last four years Scottish carcass weights have increased by 8% (28kgs). Trends indicate the trade requires slightly lighter primal cuts to meet consumer requirements. Cattle breeders need to use easier fleshing bulls to reduce finishing time, producing lighter weights of carcasses to align with evolving consumer preferences.”

Commenting on the weekend’s conference, YDP co-ordinator Gayle Bersey said: “This is a small conference for young, beef cattle enthusiasts and acts as an additional educational arm to the ever growing programme the YDP puts on throughout the year. All of the youngsters engaged with the speakers and it was fantastic to witness healthy debates from all viewpoints of the sector. These delegates are a credit to the breed and the industry and will no doubt have great careers ahead of them.”

A group of 24 participants on Dawn Meats Graduate Trainee Scheme have this week successfully completed a specially designed and delivered management programme at UCD. The program, which is an industry first, was custom designed and delivered by Agri-Food Advanced Professional Development (Agri-Food APD) a collaboration between UCD, UCC and Teagasc, which has nearly a decade of experience in delivering postgraduate training to the agri-food sector.

This programme builds on Dawn Meat’s strong record of investing in graduate management training. Dawn Meats has run in-house young manager training courses for over 15 years, and has also worked closely with the Irish Management Institute to deliver best-in-class training for its next generation of managers.    

Speaking on behalf of Agri-Food APD Professor Dolores O'Riordan said:

"We were delighted with the opportunity to work in close collaboration with Dawn Meats, to design and deliver a bespoke programme to further develop the skill set of graduates. The participants were selected from a range of business areas within the company and their positive feedback on the programme was very encouraging. We look forward to working with Dawn Meats in the future to deliver graduate programmes designed to develop the future leaders of the business".
Dawn Meat’s Group HR Manager (Ire) Larry Keena coordinated the training along with Julie Dowsett Manager of the Agri-Food APD programme at UCD.

The 20 day face-to-face training was held over 10 months and covered elements of supply chain management, traceability, sustainability and food safety.  Graduates were developed in areas of leadership, management, communication, innovation and lean business principles. The hope is that this is the beginning of collaborative training between academia and the food industry to up skill and develop graduates in this rapidly changing sector.

Dawn Meat’s Group HR Manager (Ire) Larry Keena commented:

“We place a lot of emphasis on hiring high quality graduates and ensuring they get the best of training when they come to Dawn Meats. Dawn has a long tradition of providing management training to its young managers, and this programme is an excellent collaboration between academia and industry to ensure attendees get a strong grounding in relevant leadership and management skills. It has already proven to be very popular with the participants and the skills they have learned are already becoming evident.”

To find out more about Dawn’s graduate trainee visit

Following the success of last year’s event, The Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society’s industry leading Youth Development Programme (YDP) has announced plans for a two-day conference for 18-24-year-old beef enthusiasts to further their academic and practical skill set.

The YDP Senior Conference, which for the second year running is being sponsored by Dawn Meats, will take place on the 20th and 21st February at Pat Lambert’s commercial beef unit, Pitlochie Farm, Gateside KY14 7SQ on the Saturday morning, where delegates will have the chance of a tour round the commercial beef enterprise.

The second part of the conference will take in a change of location to the Station Hotel, Perth, on Saturday afternoon for the conference activities.

The event will cover a range of speakers starting with George Brown of Dawn Meats who will be discussing topics such as cattle grading and market specifications; Alistair Crozier of Parkside Vets, who will be discussing a range of practical veterinary advice topics, followed by Breedplan’s Barbara Webster who will be giving a seminar on understanding EBV’s. The after dinner speaker will be David Ismail of the Fordel Aberdeen-Angus herd.

The Sunday morning activities will include a public speaking workshop and a ring craft and judging etiquette discussion group from William Haire and Andrew Hughes.

YDP co-ordinator Gayle Bersey says: “The YDP goes from strength to strength every year with more workshops, excellent weekend final facilities and an amazing array of talent from the participants, but the senior conference brings another dimension to the programme’s activities, with a mixture of classroom and practical activities.”

Representing sponsors Dawn Meats, Mark Allan says; “Dawn Meats are pleased to support the Aberdeen-Angus YDP Senior Conference again this year, after a very successful event in Devon in 2015. The YDP brings together passionate and enthusiastic young beef producers from across the UK and our support for this event shows our commitment to encouraging and educating the future of our industry.”

Those wishing to book their place should email Gayle Bersey on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information on the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society’s Youth Development Programme go to or follow the YDP on Facebook.

To mark World Wetland Day on Tuesday 2nd February, Dawn Meats and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) announced the start of a study on the health and progress of the integrated constructed wetland at its Carroll's Cross facility in Co. Waterford.

Four students from WIT will carry out this assessment in the coming months, and the results will be available in the autumn.

World Wetland Day aims to highlight the importance of wetlands, and the role they play in providing natural sponges against flooding, hosting a huge variety of life, and storing carbon dioxide to regulate climate change.

3 years ago Dawn Meats installed a 7 acre integrated wetland and Eco-park at the facility. This not only reduced carbon emissions by avoiding the need to mechanically treat wastewater but provided an opportunity to enhance biodiversity at the site. Dawn and WIT carried out an initial survey of the wetland in March 2014 and they are now commencing a study to assess how the health of the eco-system has progressed over the last two years.

Tony Woodcock from WIT commented: “It is great for our students to have the opportunity to work with Dawn Meats on a live project. At WIT we have a particular interest in bio-diversity and will continue to follow progress on this site.”

Richard Clinton Group Commercial Director from Dawn Meats added: “We are delighted to once again be working with WIT. Dawn Meats is committed to working together with the local community in supporting the environment and this cooperation continues to grow in effectiveness and importance.”

Beef Agribusiness of the Year

on 25 November, 2015

Dawn Meats was awarded ‘Beef Agribusiness of the Year’ at the inaugural Agribusiness Awards which took place on Tuesday 8th December in Dublin.
The Agribusiness Awards have been launched to celebrate and recognise both organisations and individuals who have contributed to Ireland's position as a global leader in the Agricultural sector. The awards cover all areas of the Agricultural industry including dairy, beef, poultry, beverages and seafood food processing.
Hosted by Colm O’ Regan, the event accredited and celebrated the cream of Ireland’s Agribusiness industry in front of an audience of industry professionals. On the night 15 prestigious trophies were presented to the very best leaders and organisations within Ireland’s Agribusiness industry including ‘Beef Agribusiness of the Year’ which was awarded to Dawn Meats.
The ‘Beef Agribusiness of the Year’ award recognises the organisation supplying beef products that can demonstrate excellence and innovation over the past 18 months.
Commenting on the awards, Richard Clinton, Group Commercial Director of Dawn Meats said: "We are very pleased to accept this award on behalf of all the team at Dawn Meats. Celebrating success in this way recognises the ongoing commitment within our business to continuous improvement and building a robust and sustainable supply chain for the future".

Dawn Meats has been named as a National Champion for Ireland in The European Business Awards sponsored by RSM; a prestigious competition supported by businesses leaders, academics, media and political representatives from across Europe.  The award was presented to Dawn Meats Group Commercial Director Richard Clinton at the British Ambassador Mr. Dominick Chilcott’s residence in Dublin this week.

The European Business Awards, now in its 9th year, engaged with over 32,000 businesses from 33 European countries this year and 678 companies from across Europe have been named as National Champions; going through to the second phase of the competition.

Commenting on the nomination Richard Clinton said, “The team at Dawn Meats is honoured to be selected for the second time, representing Ireland as a National Champion in the Environmental and Corporate Sustainability category. The European Business Awards are widely recognised as the showcase for Europe’s most dynamic companies and as part of the adjudication process we now look forward to sharing our experience and business success in greater detail with the judging panel.”

Adrian Tripp, CEO of the European Business Awards said: “Congratulations to Dawn Meats and all the companies that have been selected to represent their country as National Champions, they play an important part in creating a stronger business community.”

The next round requires the National Champions to make a presentation video, telling their unique story and explaining their business success. The judges will view all of the National Champions’ videos, and award the best of this group the coveted ‘Ruban d’Honneur’ status.  Ruban d’Honneur recipients will then go on to be part of the grand final in 2016.

Separately, the National Champion videos will be made public on the European Business Awards website as part of a two stage public vote, which will decide the ‘National Public Champions’ for each country.  Last year over 170,000 votes were cast as companies from across Europe were publicly supported by their clients, staff and peers, as well as the general public.

Pictured (l - r): Dominick Chilcott, British Ambassador, Richard Clinton, Group Commercial Director, Dawn Meats and Adrian Tripp, CEO of the European Business Awards. 

Dawn Meats, working in partnership with Edinburgh-based tech firm everysite and food industry solutions provider Hellenic Systems, have implemented an Integrated Checker service for verifying supplier Red Tractor assurance claims for Beef. The new integration means Dawn Meats can demonstrate it checks the Red Tractor 90 day rule for each individual animal by directly querying the Red Tractor database, securely and in real time, saving time and preventing costly errors.

The system works by scanning the animal passport at the lairage and ensures that all farms listed on the passport are checked for Red Tractor Assurance status in a real time ‘look up’ to the everysite Integrated Checker service. The Hellenic implementation of the service also checks the assurance status of markets each animal has passed through, adding further resilience to the verification of assurance claims being made by suppliers.

The service helps ensure that individual customer requirements for a maximum number of movements in the chain can be easily verified. This is an important step forward in helping reduce the risk of food fraud as recommended by recent Elliott Review. In addition, new requirements in Clause 5.4.4 of the BRC Global Food Standard Issue 7 require abattoirs to check assurance claims where the Red Tractor logo is used on finished product packs. The Integrated Checker service now means it’s a painless process to demonstrate compliance with Red Tractor, BRC and customer standards.

Current Red Tractor rules for beef cattle require animals to have been on an assured farm for at least the previous 90 days. Until now the only way to check Red Tractor Assurance for each animal has been to check all farms and markets that each individual animal has been on through the Red Tractor Assurance web site. This is a manual, time consuming, error prone and laborious process.

everysite Business Development Director Jim Flynn said. “One of the issues the sector is experiencing is the amount of time, resource and hassle involved in ensuring that their supply chain assurance standards are up to scratch. Food businesses can often have full time staff manually checking supplier assurance status which is an unnecessary cost.”

The project was backed by Red Tractor who are keen to ensure their certification data is made available to the industry in a secure and reliable way. Philippa Wiltshire of Red Tractor commented “We are delighted that this service has been developed as the industry has been calling for a quick and accurate electronic way to verify the Red Tractor assurance status of animals for a number of years. Our recent consultation on Lifetime Assurance for Beef highlighted this type of system would be vital to support any future changes.”

Dawn Meats are already seeing the benefits of implementing the new service. Nick O’Toole, Dawn Meats UK IT Manager commented; “The new Integrated Checker service is saving us significant amounts of manpower checking assurance across five sites. It also helps us meet our customers’ supply chain requirements and those of the BRC Global Food Standard for proactively managing our supply chain.”

Terry Carter, Managing Director of Hellenic Systems Limited added; “We took the decision to integrate the Red Tractor service because it’s what our customer’s need. They can see the value of automating what is essentially a time consuming and error prone manual task. We are more than happy to support Dawn Meats and our other customers in this way and look forward to rolling the new feature out to those who need to check Red Tractor assurance.”

To find out more on how the Integrated Checker service can be implemented in your business contact everysite via their website at

Quality Food Awards 2015

on 10 November, 2015

The 36th Quality Food Awards were held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel Park Lane on 5th November 2015 and were presented by chef, restaurateur and star of TV’s Sunday Brunch Simon Rimmer, with patissier and chocolatier Will Torrent.

Winner of the ‘Pork, Lamb and Other Joints’ category was awarded to Asda Butchers Selection Oak Smoked Boneless Beef Ribs as supplied by Dawn Meats. Another product of Dawn Meats recognised on the night was the ‘Highly Commended’ Asda Butchers Selection Mexican Fajita Style Beef Brisket with Jalapeno Cheese Sauce and Salsa.

The Quality Food Awards which celebrates and recognizes excellence in the UK’s food and drink industry, are recognised as one of the most respected awards for food and drink products on sale in the UK grocery outlets.

With a robust judging process comprising of a panel of over 150 food and drink experts from many different industry disciplines, every aspect of a product is taken into consideration – rewarding great flavours, high quality ingredients, excellent value for money and outstanding packaging.

Dawn Meats are delighted to have received Gold and Bronze awards at the 8th annual Blas na hÉireann Irish Food Awards, held as part of the Dingle Food Festival on 3rd October 2015. Over 2500 products were entered into this year’s competition to win Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards in over 90 food and drink categories. Products from Dawn Meats to receive awards were:

Gold  - Beef Stir Fry with Peppers
Bronze  - Lidl Half Lamb Leg

Blas na hÉireann, The Irish Food Awards, are the biggest blind tasting competition for quality Irish produce in Ireland, and the criteria on which the products are judged as well as the judging system itself, which was developed by Blas na hÉireann with the Food Science Dept of UCC, is now recognised as an industry standard. The awards are a fantastic opportunity to not only celebrate great Irish products, but also the local suppliers and the passionate individuals behind them.

Irish agriculture may contribute 32pc of Irish emissions, but agriculture worldwide contributes only 12pc, and no one is looking at Ireland's natural ability for carbon sequestration during beef production.

This year has already brought many challenges and opportunities for Irish agriculture. An industry with an annual output of €24bn employing over 150,000 people in Ireland, agriculture has played a pivotal role in leading the country's economic recovery and delivering a much-needed dose of national confidence.

After more than 30 years, the lifting of dairy quotas this year opened the door to increased export revenue and the potential for considerable job creation. Opportunities also continue to open up for Irish beef exports, with markets such as China and the United States lifting their bans on exports of Irish beef this year. The opportunities for the sector will continue to emerge as Ireland's association with quality, traceability and sustainability strengthens.

2015 has also been an important year in the global debate on the pace and effects of climate change. With the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris approaching in December, many critical issues will be debated in the months to come. COP21 will be an important conference, with a focus on achieving a new international agreement on the climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

At a national level, agriculture is a significant contributor to Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions. It accounts for approximately 32pc of our total emissions, a figure that underscores the role Irish agriculture plays in our economy. The Irish government has set out ambitious targets for further growth and development, so as to take full advantage of the opportunities for our industry. The challenge is to drive Irish export growth and feed a growing global population while respecting our environmental limits, not to mention legal obligations to reduce greenhouse gasses.

Irish agriculture has come under the spotlight of late as stakeholders examine ways to square this circle. There is the belief in some quarters that the objectives of initiatives like Food Harvest 2020 (which includes a target to increase beef production by 20pc) are incompatible with Ireland's legal greenhouse gas reduction obligations.

There is criticism of what some view as government rhetoric around emissions reductions and a lack of concrete proposals to achieve these. There is also a fear that attempts to protect "privileged sectors", such as agriculture, will result in unfair concessions for food producers and a disproportionate effect on other sectors of the economy. The blunt solution suggested by detractors is that Ireland should, as a responsible global citizen, reduce food production in order to meet the mandated emissions targets.

The truth is that Ireland's high rainfall combined with our grass-based feeding system makes for a sustainable beef production environment compared with other regions of the world. Within the European Union the average CO2 output per kilogram of beef is 22.1kg, whereas in Ireland it is 14pc lower at 19kg. Put simply, swapping an Irish cow for one somewhere else in Europe will actually increase the overall global carbon footprint, even if it helps Ireland hit emissions targets.

It is worth considering the broader sector context. While Irish agriculture contributes 32pc of total Irish emissions, agriculture worldwide contributes only 12pc, with energy production contributing 75pc. This gives an idea of the scale of the challenge facing us all.

Ireland also has a natural advantage in terms of carbon sequestration - the removal of carbon from the atmosphere and its long-term storage. The carbon released in the production of beef for example, is offset by that carbon being stored by the grassland, soils and forestry on Irish farms. Our climate is naturally ideal for grass production, and carbon sequestration should be taken into account when looking at national emissions - currently it is not.

Reducing emissions is important, and at Dawn we have made huge efforts to address the environmental sustainability of our business. We introduced a group sustainability plan in 2009 which made core commitments to reduce our environmental footprint including: a 50pc reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020; a 40pc reduction in water and energy use by 2020; and a 50pc increase in recycling of waste by the end of this year.

To date, we have achieved annual water savings of 56m litres and reduced thermal energy consumption by 50pc across all sites. Among the most ambitious projects to date has been our development of a seven-acre wetland and eco-park in Carroll's Cross, Co Waterford, a low-carbon effluent treatment method, improving biodiversity and also sequestering carbon. Carroll's Cross was also the site of our first fossil fuel-free plant in 2014 reducing our dependency on non-renewable energy and the associated carbon emissions.

Dawn Meats and many of our industry peers have supported and driven initiatives such as Bord Bia's Origin Green programme which is helping Irish food producers demonstrate to international customers the verifiable achievements being made to ensure supply chain sustainability. The industry has recognised and advocated the importance of a proactive, innovative approach from an early stage.

Origin Green is a global first, with Ireland taking a leadership role in making a commercial virtue of climate-smart agriculture. Irish food producers continue to take huge steps in this area, and given the collective goal of reducing global emissions it would be an exercise in futility to reduce Irish beef production to meet emissions targets, and shift production to less-sustainable production systems overseas.

There is a tendency to view sustainability purely in terms of carbon emissions. Whilst measurements like these are important, sustainable production should be viewed in a more holistic way, recognising the benefits that it can bring to the Irish economy, at a national level, and in towns and villages all around the country.

Finally we need to consider the global food security threat that we face, with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) forecasting a 50pc increase in food demand by 2030. Few would dispute the urgency of the emissions reduction challenge facing Ireland and countries all over the world. It is important, however, that sustainability should take into account the significant contribution to addressing this challenge that Ireland's rich and varied agri-business sector is making in an environmentally responsible way.

We also need to remind ourselves that any drop in food production in this country will quickly be filled by other, less-sustainable locations.

Media Queries

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