‘The Future of Farming – Cotter Bros Firewood – Farm Open Day’ aims to provide a practical demonstration on the production of high-quality firewood certified to international standards. This will be followed by the launch of Cotter Organic Lamb, with a cookery demonstration by a celebrity chef and a BBQ where people will get their first taste of Cotter Organic Lamb.
This free-to-attend event will take place on Thursday 29th August at 10.30am on the Cotter Farm near Abbeyfeale, West Limerick (Eircode V94 A3H3 – Loc8 Code QY9-31-B53). The event is jointly organised by the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA), the Wood Fuel Quality Assur-ance scheme (WFQA), the Department of Agriculture Food and The Marine, and the Cotter Family.
Climate Change, Biodiv-ersity Loss and Air Quality have rightly become key issues of our time. The main purpose of the day is to demonstrate to firewood producers, policy makers and the public how high-quality dry firewood can be produced in Ireland. This is important as studies have shown that burning wet firewood in old stoves and open fires can contribute to poor air quality, whereas burning dry firewood in modern eco-design labelled stoves, can reduce particulate matter emissions by 80 to 90%; this would go a long way towards meeting EU air quality standards.
This exciting event will include live demonstrations of firewood machinery involved at all stages of the production cycle; cutting, cleaning, weighing, packaging; including remote controlled teleporters. The event will also feature panel discussions with other WFQA certified producers and various guest speakers giving their perspective on topics including raw material sourcing, firewood processing, drying techniques, quality assurance, costs and challenges, marketing and the future of firewood.
Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about best practice in the industry and meet with experts relating to firewood production. After the event, catering will be provided where attendees can get to taste Cotter Organic Lamb.
The Cotter farm was originally a dairy farm which converted to beef in the mid ‘90s and then to sheep in the mid 2000s. Due to poor market returns the decision was made to convert to organics in 2014. Profitability improved due to direct subsidies but the return from the market was poor because of an under-developed supply chain. ‘We were producing really good quality organic lamb but most of it was ending up in the conventional lamb market’ according to Nick Cotter.‘This is really bad because a lot of people are looking to buy meat that is produced in an environmentally sustainable way; 100% grass-fed; organic and raised on a farm rich in biodiversity and wildlife. By starting Cotter Organic Lamb with assistance from our local Leader group West Limerick Resources, we hope to overcome this problem’.
From next month, people will be able to go online and buy Cotter Organic Lamb, craft butchered and either collect it from the farm or have it delivered to their door, anywhere in Ireland.
Cotter Bros Firewood is a farm-scale professional firewood business that was started in 2011 by the Cotter sons, Jack and Nick, aged 13 and 11 at the time. It is a local farm business, producing and selling high quality ready to burn WFQA certified firewood. Nick recently received recognition for the Cotter Brothers’ entrepreneurial successes from UCC, being awarded a Quercus Innovation/Entre-preneurship Scholarship.
Cotter Bros Firewood is a prime example of how the firewood industry is providing local employ-ment and locally sourced renewable fuel, which keeps money in our local economies and boosts enterprise in rural areas. They presented at Energy in Agriculture last year and see huge potential for the development of the sector with positive Government policy.
This day is the first of a series of open days hosted by firewood producers certified under the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme (WFQA), demon-strating how high-quality firewood can be produced. WFQA is Ireland’s Wood Fuel Quality Assurance scheme.
For chefs, home cooks and restaurants everywhere, this day is not to be missed. It provides a unique opportunity to sample the delights of organic lamb that has been reared locally in a farm that respects all its animals.
Food lovers everywhere will appreciate this method of farming that not only sustains a community, adds to the general health of consumers, but is also conscious of climatic changes that are affecting our planet.