A move by Irish Distillers to formally recognise the high environmental standards of green spring barley growers was described by the IFA as a positive development.
Grain committee chairman Mark Browne was speaking at the launch, in Midleton Distillery, Co Cork, of the Green Spring Barley Scheme, which will help reduce carbon footprint and promote biodiversity on farms.
He said the IFA engaged in constructive discussions with Irish Distillers in recent months. These centred on the need to support farmers who provide the green spring barley used in whiskeys such as Jameson, Powers, Redbreast, and Midleton Very Rare.
“The quality of this barley is exceptional. Achieving this requires significant additional care and costs, which are borne by the farmer,” he said.
As part of the scheme, there will be an additional payment of €15 per/tonne payable directly to those growers who meet the environmental and sustainability requirements outlined in the initiative.
Irish Distillers chief executive Conor McQuaid said its approach to sustainability is holistic and centres on the grain to glass journey.
“We value the quality Irish barley used to make our whiskeys and place a particular emphasis on sourcing, certification and traceability,” he said.
“For this reason, from 2020, we have decided to introduce a tailored sustainability programme for these growers which will support tillage farmers in delivering further environmental benefits on their farms.”