College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) celebrate fourteen years of LEAF Marque accreditation. LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) is a farm assurance scheme that shows food has been grown sustainably with care for the environment. This is strongly aligned with CAFRE’s commitment to sustainability
The LEAF Marque assurance scheme sets rigorous standards for environmental sustainability which requires compliance across all enterprises on the farm. The LEAF Marque audit, conducted by an independent auditor, reviews the activities across all of the CAFRE farms for compliance with LEAF Marque Standard.
CAFRE LEAF Co-ordinator Ruth Ruddell said: “CAFRE are delighted to have received LEAF Marque status for the fourteenth year. This demonstrates CAFRE’s commitment of the principals of Integrated Farm Management (IFM) on its farms. Sustainability is a key aspect of our farming practice and the LEAF Marque status continually drives us to improve each element of Integrated Farm Management. These elements include Organisation and Planning, Soil Management and Fertility, Crop Health and Protection, Pollution Control and By-Product Management, Animal Husbandry, Energy Efficiency, Water Management, Landscape and Nature Conservation and Community Engagement.”
Examples of the implementation of IFM at CAFRE include; measuring soil health and soil carbon levels, carbon footprinting, pollinator margins, monitoring water usage, rainwater harvesting, recycling farm plastics and engaging with partners in the monitoring of habitats and species such as, breeding waders at the Glenwherry Hill Farm.
COVID-19 restrictions resulted in the 2021 audit being conducted online. Ruth said: “The audit consisted of uploading digital evidence, an online sustainable farming review, video evidence and online discussions.”
Further details about CAFRE’s LEAF Marque are available online.
From September 2021, CAFRE will be providing an Honours Degree in Sustainable Agriculture, with pathways in Land Management and Agri-business validated by Ulster University.
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