UCD Students debate the impact of farming on the planet at inaugural agri-food debate

Pictured is Captain of the team proposing the motion, Stage 4 BAgrSc Animal Science student Leanne McNamara.

On Thursday 10th March 2016 UCD students and representatives of the Irish agri-food industry took to the UCD Garret Fitzgerald Debating Chamber in the first annual Great Agri-Food Debate to consider the motion: “Ruminant Livestock Farming will Help Save the Planet.”

The debate saw students from the School of Agriculture and Food Science vigorously debate issues such as the long-term importance of agri-food production to the Irish economy; livestock-related greenhouse gas emissions; the relative efficiencies of the Irish production system, and what constitutes sustainable levels of meat consumption worldwide into the future.

Moderator for the night was Justin McCarthy, Editor of the Irish Farmers Journal and the judging panel was made up of Niall Browne, CEO, Dawn Meats; Adrian Crean, Managing Director, McDonald’s Ireland and Aidan Cotter, CEO Bord Bia. Dawn Meats and McDonald’s Ireland co-sponsored the event in recognition of the importance of sustainable sourcing and sustainable farming.

The teams were drawn from students of the School of Agriculture and Food Science, from across all Stages and majors including Animal and Crop Production, Diary Business, Animal Science and Food and Agribusiness Management. The team proposing the motion was captained by Leanne McNamara (Stage 4, Animal Science) who was joined by Paul Murphy (Stage 4, Dairy Business), Peter Fagan (Stage 1, Food and Agribusiness Management), Clodagh Ryan (Stage 4, Animal Science), Joseph Ryan (Stage 4, Dairy Business) and Rachel Morris (Stage 3, Food and Agribusiness Management).

Opposing the motion were Niall Walsh (Stage 3, Animal Science and team captain) aided by Bríd McClearn (Stage 4, Animal and Crop Production), Andrew Dolan (Stage 4, Animal Science), Grainne Horan (Stage 2, Animal and Crop Production), Donal O'Neill (Stage 4, Food and Agribusiness Management) and Isabelle Lordan (Stage 1, Agricultural Science).

Following an entertaining, informative and at times heated debate, the proposition were deemed the eventual winners, with their team captain Leanne McNamara claiming the prize for speaker of the night.

Commenting on the event, Niall Browne, CEO, Dawn Meats said, “The debate this evening gave us an opportunity to consider different sides of this contentious issue, and importantly, to provide a forum for the views and vision of the next generation of agri-food leaders. Our activities today will shape the industry that they inherit, and it is important that they are active stakeholders from the very beginning.”

Related links

See event imagery

Media report: Irish Farmers Journal