Now showing items 1-20 of 131

    • From Knowledge to Invention: Exploring User Innovation in Irish Agriculture

      O'Flynn, Patricia; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (2017-07)
      Improvements in European agriculture are framed in the literature as arising from an Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System with innovations provided by others for farmers to adopt. The motivators for farmers who invent useful products for themselves, without outside involvement, are not well understood in such developed countries. These inventions, often shared with other farmers rather than introduced to the market, arise from a process of user innovation (von Hippel, 2005). This thesis examines Irish farmers’ motivators in the creation and subsequent sharing or commercialisation of farming artefacts. Their motivators are conceptualised from a sociological perspective, using Bourdieu’s theory of capitals (1986). Employing a multi-perspective research design, methods include a content analysis of 210 inventions, semi-structured interviews with key informants from innovation support organisations, and in-depth interviews with farmer-inventors. The findings indicate that most farmer-inventors get great personal satisfaction from problem-solving and, being generally without higher education, use their tacit knowledge to create inventions that increase efficiency as a means to improve family farm viability. Despite efficiency usually indicating skilful farming, Irish farmer-inventors are frequently derided by other farmers who deem their inventing to be culturally inappropriate. Farmer-inventors with entrepreneurial intentions, willing to withstand such hostility, face financial and temporal constraints, while the help offered by innovation support organisations is often inadequate. As a result, some inventions with commercial potential may never reach the market. Farmer-inventors who share their knowledge and inventions in social learning networks, similar to communities of practice, accrue social capital that leads to the emergence of a shared farmer-inventor identity. This thesis contributes to knowledge about user innovation in developed country agriculture by offering deeper understandings of farmer-inventors’ social, cultural, and economic processes. It proposes farmers to be an underappreciated source of knowledge and inventions, which offer low cost farm-level solutions to support family farm resilience.
    • Future Protein Supply and Demand: Strategies and Factors Influencing a Sustainable Equilibrium

      Henchion, Maeve; Hayes, Maria; Mullen, Anne Maria; Fenelon, Mark; Tiwari, Brijesh; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/F/043 (MDPI, 2017-07-20)
      A growing global population, combined with factors such as changing socio-demographics, will place increased pressure on the world’s resources to provide not only more but also different types of food. Increased demand for animal-based protein in particular is expected to have a negative environmental impact, generating greenhouse gas emissions, requiring more water and more land. Addressing this “perfect storm” will necessitate more sustainable production of existing sources of protein as well as alternative sources for direct human consumption. This paper outlines some potential demand scenarios and provides an overview of selected existing and novel protein sources in terms of their potential to sustainably deliver protein for the future, considering drivers and challenges relating to nutritional, environmental, and technological and market/consumer domains. It concludes that different factors influence the potential of existing and novel sources. Existing protein sources are primarily hindered by their negative environmental impacts with some concerns around health. However, they offer social and economic benefits, and have a high level of consumer acceptance. Furthermore, recent research emphasizes the role of livestock as part of the solution to greenhouse gas emissions, and indicates that animal-based protein has an important role as part of a sustainable diet and as a contributor to food security. Novel proteins require the development of new value chains, and attention to issues such as production costs, food safety, scalability and consumer acceptance. Furthermore, positive environmental impacts cannot be assumed with novel protein sources and care must be taken to ensure that comparisons between novel and existing protein sources are valid. Greater alignment of political forces, and the involvement of wider stakeholders in a governance role, as well as development/commercialization role, is required to address both sources of protein and ensure food security.
    • Future Protein Supply and Demand: Strategies and Factors Influencing a Sustainable Equilibrium

      Henchion, Maeve; Hayes, Maria; Mullen, Anne Maria; Fenelon, Mark A.; Tiwari, Brijesh (MDPI, 2017-07-20)
      A growing global population, combined with factors such as changing socio-demographics, will place increased pressure on the world’s resources to provide not only more but also different types of food. Increased demand for animal-based protein in particular is expected to have a negative environmental impact, generating greenhouse gas emissions, requiring more water and more land. Addressing this “perfect storm” will necessitate more sustainable production of existing sources of protein as well as alternative sources for direct human consumption. This paper outlines some potential demand scenarios and provides an overview of selected existing and novel protein sources in terms of their potential to sustainably deliver protein for the future, considering drivers and challenges relating to nutritional, environmental, and technological and market/consumer domains. It concludes that different factors influence the potential of existing and novel sources. Existing protein sources are primarily hindered by their negative environmental impacts with some concerns around health. However, they offer social and economic benefits, and have a high level of consumer acceptance. Furthermore, recent research emphasizes the role of livestock as part of the solution to greenhouse gas emissions, and indicates that animal-based protein has an important role as part of a sustainable diet and as a contributor to food security. Novel proteins require the development of new value chains, and attention to issues such as production costs, food safety, scalability and consumer acceptance. Furthermore, positive environmental impacts cannot be assumed with novel protein sources and care must be taken to ensure that comparisons between novel and existing protein sources are valid. Greater alignment of political forces, and the involvement of wider stakeholders in a governance role, as well as development/commercialization role, is required to address both sources of protein and ensure food security
    • Consumer evaluations of processed meat products reformulated to be healthier – A conjoint analysis study

      Shan, Liran C.; de Brun, Aoife; Henchion, Maeve; Li, Chenguan; Murrin, Celine; Wall, Patrick J.; monahan, Frank J.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/F/035 (Elsevier, 2017-05-01)
      Recent innovations in processed meats focus on healthier reformulations through reducing negative constituents and/or adding health beneficial ingredients. This study explored the influence of base meat product (ham, sausages, beef burger), salt and/or fat content (reduced or not), healthy ingredients (omega 3, vitamin E, none), and price (average or higher than average) on consumers' purchase intention and quality judgement of processed meats. A survey (n = 481) using conjoint methodology and cluster analysis was conducted. Price and base meat product were most important for consumers' purchase intention, followed by healthy ingredient and salt and/or fat content. In reformulation, consumers had a preference for ham and sausages over beef burgers, and for reduced salt and/or fat over non reduction. In relation to healthy ingredients, omega 3 was preferred over none, and vitamin E was least preferred. Healthier reformulations improved the perceived healthiness of processed meats. Cluster analyses identified three consumer segments with different product preferences.
    • Factors that predict consumer acceptance of enriched processed meats

      Shan, Liran C.; Henchion, Maeve; de Brun, Aoife; Murrin, Celine; Wall, Patrick G.; Monahan, Frank J.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/F/035 (Elsevier, 2017-07-08)
      The study aimed to understand predictors of consumers' purchase intention towards processed meat based functional foods (i.e. enriched processed meat). A cross-sectional survey was conducted with 486 processed meat consumers in spring 2016. Results showed that processed meats were perceived differently in healthiness, with sausage-type products perceived less healthy than cured meat products. Consumers were in general more uncertain than positive about enriched processed meat but differences existed in terms of the attitudes and purchase intention. Following regression analysis, consumers' purchase intention towards enriched processed meat was primarily driven by their attitudes towards the product concept. Perceived healthiness of existing products and eating frequency of processed meat were also positively associated with the purchase intention. Other factors such as general food choice motives, socio-demographic characteristics, consumer health and the consumption of functional foods and dietary supplements in general, were not significant predictors of the purchase intention for enriched processed meat.
    • Development of a Strategic Approach for a Single EU Beef Market: An Evaluation of Changes in the EU Intervention system and Labelling Regulations in Relation to Irish Cattle Prices.

      O'Connell, John; Dunne, Liam; Shanahan, Ultan (Teagasc, 2003-01-01)
      The intervention system for beef in the EU has undergone major changes since its inception. These changes were introduced because of changing circumstances in the EU beef market and because of cost factors and inefficiencies associated with and arising from the intervention system itself. While justified from these perspectives it can be said that from the perspective of beef producers the system has changed from being a mechanism which aimed at and operated to achieve a producer Guide Price which in turn was defined as “……..the price which it is hoped to attain on average on the Community market for all the quantities marketed during a given marketing year” (Com 370, July 1976) to one which has abandoned all efforts at achieving a desirable producer price and which provides at best very short term stabilisation of price at its market level. The aim of this paper is to trace the major changes which have occurred to the intervention system and the concomitant price achievement of beef in general in the EU and especially that of Irish beef. These changes together with other market and policy factors occurring on and since 1996 have combined to give a historically poor price performance for Irish beef which despite the growing importance of direct payments is still of major significance in the incomes and welfare of beef producers.
    • The role of meat in strategies to achieve a sustainable diet lower in greenhouse gas emissions: A review

      Hyland, John J.; Henchion, Maeve; McCarthy, Mary; McCarthy, Sinead N.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 13/F/527 (Elsevier, 2017-04-21)
      Food consumption is responsible for a considerable proportion of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE). Hence, individual food choices have the potential to substantially influence both public health and the environment. Meat and animal products are relatively high in GHGE and therefore targeted in efforts to reduce dietary emissions. This review first highlights the complexities regarding sustainability in terms of meat consumption and thereafter discusses possible strategies that could be implemented to mitigate its climatic impact. It outlines how sustainable diets are possible without the elimination of meat. For instance, overconsumption of food in general, beyond our nutritional requirements, was found to be a significant contributor of emissions. Non-voluntary and voluntary mitigation strategies offer potential to reduce dietary GHGE. All mitigation strategies require careful consideration but on-farm sustainable intensification perhaps offers the most promise. However, a balance between supply and demand approaches is encouraged. Health should remain the overarching principle for policies and strategies concerned with shifting consumer behaviour towards sustainable diets.
    • The Potential of Farm Partnerships to Facilitate Farm Succession and Inheritance

      Leonard, Brian; Mahon, Marie; Kinsella, Anne; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Farrell, Maura; Curran, Thomas; Hennessy, Thia; Royal Dublin Society; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Institute of Agricultural Management, 2017-05-01)
      The rising average age of farmers and low level of young farmer entry is viewed as problematic on a global scale and farm partnerships are presented as a possible means by which farm succession and inheritance could take place in a timely manner. Using the example of Ireland, this research investigates a recent proposal by government to introduce a tax relief as an incentive for farmers to part take in farm partnerships. In this discussion, a hypothetical microsimulation model is used to investigate the possible outcomes of such a tax relief, with scenarios created to examine how this would materialise. It draws on the Teagasc National Farm Survey data which provides Irish data to the Farm Accountancy Data Network in the European Commission. The findings illustrate that even with a tax relief, cattle rearing farms would struggle to reap any economic benefit from entering a farm partnership, while their dairy counterparts would receive more value from tax reliefs. Results also indicate that farm viability will play a large role in whether or not collaborative farming is viewed as an option for farmers.
    • The climatic impact of food consumption in a representative sample of Irish adults and implications for food and nutrition policy

      Hyland, John J.; Henchion, Maeve; McCarthy, Mary; McCarthy, Sinead; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 13/F/527 (Cambridge University Press, 2016-09-26)
      To evaluate the greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) associated with the diet of Irish adults. GHGE were estimated by applying conversion factors to habitual food consumption data taken from the National Adult Nutrition Survey, which was representative of the population. Descriptive analyses were undertaken for GHGE for the total population, as well as accounting for energy misreporting and across categories of sociodemographic and socio-economic factors and tertiles of emissions. Republic of Ireland. Adults aged 18–87 years (n 1500). The GHGE derived from daily dietary intakes was estimated as 6·5 kg of CO2 equivalents (CO2eq) per person. Males, younger consumers, those with secondary education and student employment status were associated with significantly higher GHGE. Red meat was the highest contributor to GHGE with 1646 g CO2eq arising from a mean intake of 47 g/d. Dairy and starchy staples were the next largest dietary GHGE sources, with mean daily emissions of 732 g CO2eq and 647 g CO2eq, respectively. The lowest emissions were associated with consumption of vegetables, fruits and legumes/pulses/nuts. Based on profiling using actual food consumption data, it is evident that one single measure is not sufficient and a range of evidence-based mitigation measures with potential to lower emissions throughout the food chain should be considered. The research contributes towards an improved understanding of the climatic impact of the dietary intakes of Irish adults and can serve to inform a sustainability framework to guide action in food and nutrition policy
    • Evaluation of beef eating quality by Irish consumers

      McCarthy, Sinead; Henchion, Maeve; White, A.; Brandon, K.; Allen, Paul; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 04/R&D/TN/256 (Elsevier, 2017-05-08)
      A consumer's decision to purchase beef is strongly linked to its sensory properties and consistent eating quality is one of the most important attributes. Consumer taste panels were held according to the Meat Standards Australia guidelines and consumers scored beef according to its palatability attributes and completed a socio-demographic questionnaire. Consumers were able to distinguish between beef quality on a scale from unsatisfactory to premium with high accuracy. Premium cuts of beef scored significantly higher on all of the scales compared to poorer quality cuts. Men rated grilled beef higher on juiciness and flavour scales compared to women. Being the main purchaser of beef had no impact on rating scores. Overall the results show that consumers can judge eating quality with high accuracy. Further research is needed to determine how best to communicate inherent benefits that are not visible into extrinsic eating quality indicators, to provide the consumer with consistent indications of quality at the point of purchase.
    • Policy drivers of farm succession and inheritance

      Leonard, Brian; Kinsella, Anne; O'Donoghue, Cathal; Farrell, Maura; Mahon, Marie; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Royal Dublin Society (Elsevier, 2016-11-18)
      Farm succession and inheritance is increasingly considered a complex phenomenon which not only affects core dimensions of farm family life but also the agricultural sector more widely. Intergenerational farm transfer in particular is increasingly viewed as fundamental to the sustainability and development of global agriculture. In the majority of EU countries, the average age of farmers is increasing, while the number of farmers under 40 years of age is decreasing. There is growing concern that this demographic trend may have negative impacts on the agricultural industry because it is younger and not older farmers who are associated with more efficient and effective production practices. The question of what motivates decisions to transfer farms is a complex one, and research to date has not apparently enlightened agricultural policy to the extent that current trends towards an ageing farm population are being managed. This research aims to investigate economic and financial aspects of the policy drivers of farm succession and inheritance in Ireland to understand what it is about the policy environment that is failing to stimulate higher levels of farm transfer. It draws on the Teagasc National Farm Survey data which provides Irish data to the Farm Accountancy Data Network in the European Commission. A hypothetical microsimulation model is used to investigate economic factors of farm transfers, with scenarios created to test these factors and their impacts on the transfer process. The Net Present Value (NPV) of income streams for farmers and their successors are calculated to assess which scenarios have the highest/lowest financial effects. The findings illustrate a range of possible scenarios for farm succession/inheritance, with some results indicating that under current policy retaining a farm until death may be more economically beneficial to a farmer than transferring land before death.
    • Stakeholder involvement in establishing a milk quality sub-index in dairy cow breeding goals: a Delphi approach

      Henchion, Maeve; McCarthy, M.; Resconi, Virginia C.; Berry, Donagh P.; McParland, Sinead; Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine; 11/SF/311 (Cambridge University Press, 2015-11-17)
      The relative weighting on traits within breeding goals are generally determined by bio-economic models or profit functions. While such methods have generally delivered profitability gains to producers, and are being expanded to consider non-market values, current approaches generally do not consider the numerous and diverse stakeholders that affect, or are affected, by such tools. Based on principles of respondent anonymity, iteration, controlled feedback and statistical aggregation of feedback, a Delphi study was undertaken to gauge stakeholder opinion of the importance of detailed milk quality traits within an overall dairy breeding goal for profit, with the aim of assessing its suitability as a complementary, participatory approach to defining breeding goals. The questionnaires used over two survey rounds asked stakeholders: (a) their opinion on incorporating an explicit sub-index for milk quality into a national breeding goal; (b) the importance they would assign to a pre-determined list of milk quality traits and (c) the (relative) weighting they would give such a milk quality sub-index. Results from the survey highlighted a good degree of consensus among stakeholders on the issues raised. Similarly, revelation of the underlying assumptions and knowledge used by stakeholders to make their judgements illustrated their ability to consider a range of perspectives when evaluating traits, and to reconsider their answers based on the responses and rationales given by others, which demonstrated social learning. Finally, while the relative importance assigned by stakeholders in the Delphi survey (4% to 10%) and the results of calculations based on selection index theory of the relative emphasis that should be placed on milk quality to halt any deterioration (16%) are broadly in line, the difference indicates the benefit of considering more than one approach to determining breeding goals. This study thus illustrates the role of the Delphi technique, as a complementary approach to traditional approaches, to defining breeding goals. This has implications for how breeding goals will be defined and in determining who should be involved in the decision-making process.
    • Transforming Beef By-products into Valuable Ingredients: Which Spell/Recipe to Use?

      Henchion, Maeve; McCarthy, Mary; O'Callaghan, Jim; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine; 11/F/043 (Frontiers, 2016-11-30)
      Satisfying the increasing global demand for protein results in challenges from a supply perspective. Increased use of animal proteins, through greater use of meat by-products, could form part of the solution, subject to consumer acceptance. This research investigates consumer evaluations of food products that incorporate ingredients derived from offals that have been produced through a range of food processing technologies. Using focus groups incorporating product stimuli representing various combinations of offals, processing, and carrier products, the research finds that the physical state and perceived naturalness of the ingredients influences acceptance. It also highlights the impact of life experiences, linked to demographic characteristics, on interpretations and evaluations of products and processes. Ideational influences, i.e., knowledge of the nature or origin of the substance, are reasons for rejecting some concepts, with misalignment between nature of processing and the product resulting in rejection of others. Lack of perceived necessity also results in rejection. Alignment of ingredients with existing culinary practices and routines, communication of potential sensory, or other benefits as well as naturalness are factors likely to promote acceptance, and generate repeat purchase, in some consumer segments. Trust in oversight that the products are safe is a prerequisite for acceptance in all cases. These findings have implications for pathways to increase sustainability of beef production and consumption through increased use of beef by-products.
    • Consumer Assessment of Unmet Needs in the Development of Targeted and Appropriate Novel Food for the Over Sixty Fives

      Cummins, Helen; Corish, C. A.; Roche, H. M.; McCarthy, Sinead N.; Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (Oxford University Press, 2016-09)
      Opportunities exist to produce foods specifically targeted to over 65s in order to promote healthy ageing. These findings have the potential to influence public health and nutrition policy developments in Ireland.
    • Cease agricultural activity forever? Underestimating the importance of symbolic capital

      Conway, Shane Francis; McDonagh, John; Farrell, Maura; Kinsella, Anne; National University of Ireland, Galway; Geographical Society of Ireland (Elsevier, 2016-02-11)
      Similar to what is occurring on a global scale, Irish agriculture is populated by an older generation of farmers. Consequently, intergenerational family farm transfer is increasingly viewed as crucial to the survival, continuity and future sustainability of the family farm and agricultural sector. A review of existing research highlights how financial incentives that encourage succession and retirement from farming have stimulated little change in the behavioural intentions and attitudes amongst elderly farmers. Drawing on two previously disparate literature (transferring the family firm and transferring the family farm) and applying Pierre Bourdieu's concept of symbolic capital as a theoretical framework, this paper sets aside financial enticements and presents an insightful, nuanced analysis of the human factors that influence the process of transferring the family farm from the perspective of the senior generation. This research employs a multi-method triangulation design, consisting of self-administered questionnaires in conjunction with complimentary Problem-Centred Interviews, to acquire data on the complex psychodynamic and sociodynamic emotions involved in the process. The prominent themes to emerge from the empirical data are farmer's concerns regarding potential loss of identity, status and control upon transferring management and ownership of the family farm and retiring. Many older farmers appear to prioritise the building and maintenance of their personal accumulation of symbolic capital rather than ceasing agricultural activity. The paper concludes by suggesting that future policies and programmes encouraging family farm transfer must take into account the pervasiveness of symbolic capital and work within this structure to develop effective strategies that addresses the emotional well-being of elderly farmers.
    • The Potential for Joint Farming Ventures in Irish Agriculture: A Sociological Review

      Cush, Peter; Macken-Walsh, Aine; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/S/151. (De Gruyter, 2016-04-09)
      Joint farming ventures (JFVs) are promoted within Irish and EU policy discourses as strategies that can enhance the economic and social sustainability of family farming. Research has shown that JFVs, including arrangements such as farm partnerships, contract rearing and share farming, can potentially enable farmers to work cooperatively to improve farm productivity, reduce working hours, facilitate succession, develop skills and improve relationships within the farm household. In the context of increasing policy promotion of JFVs, there is a need to make some attempt at understanding the macro socio-cultural disposition of family farming to cooperation. Reviewing sociological studies of agricultural cooperation and taking a specific focus on the Irish contextual backdrop, this paper draws the reader’s attention to the importance of historical legacy, pragmatic economic and social concerns, communicative norms, inter-personal relationships, individualism and, policy and extension stimuli, all of which shape farmers’ dispositions to cooperation and to JFVs specifically.
    • A New Direction for the Payment of Milk: Technological and Seasonality Considerations in Multiple Component Milk Pricing of Milk (Liquid and Manufacturing) for a Diversifying Dairy Industry

      Breen, James; Wallace, Michael; Crosse, Seamus; O'Callaghan, Donal (Teagasc, 2007-01-01)
      The main objectives of this study were to compare a Multiple Component Pricing system with the current milk pricing practice in Ireland and to estimate the marginal values of the three main milk components (fat, protein and lactose) in the context of the Irish milk processing industry. A representative linear programming model of an average Irish milk processor was developed in order to determine the marginal values of the milk components and to compare the value of milk under the Multiple Component Pricing system with the value under the current milk pricing practice. This study also examined the effect of product mix, milk supply and milk composition on the marginal value of the milk components.
    • Supply Chains Linking Food SMEs in Lagging Rural Regions in Ireland

      Henchion, Maeve; McIntyre, Bridin; Meredith, David; Downey, Gerard; European Commission; QLK5-CT-2000-00841 (Teagasc, 2005-04-01)
      This report reflects the Irish contribution to a 3-year EU-funded research project, SUPPLIERS, which was concerned with the development, innovation, competitiveness and sustainability of food SMEs in lagging rural regions(LRRs) of the EU and Poland. It summarises the results of the research conducted in Ireland, evaluates these findings and makes recommendations to benefit food SMEs located in Ireland’s LRRs. Two regions were selected for study in Ireland. These were the West, comprising counties Galway, Mayo and Roscommon, and the Northwest, comprising counties Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim. Both are classified as Objective 1 regions reflecting their predominantly rural character, economic disadvantage and relative remoteness from urban centres. Three food products were selected for detailed study in each region. Products selected in the West were mushrooms, farmed salmon and speciality foods and, in the Northwest, organic produce, farmed shellfish and prepared consumer foods. This product range encompassed a range of chains from local to international, integrated to fragmented, direct to indirect, providing a basis for comparison and evaluation of different chain structures. This summary report concentrates on the results of four surveys carried out over the course of the study. Producers, intermediaries, commercial customers and support institutions were surveyed.
    • An Assessment of the Irish Speciality Food Enterprises’ use of the Internet as a Marketing Tool

      Canavan, Orla; Henchion, Maeve; O’Reilly, Seamus; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc, 2005-04-01)
      This study set out to explore the role of the Internet as a marketing tool for Irish speciality food producers and to research on-line speciality food sales as a business opportunity. The project achieved this through a combination of consumer focus groups, a producer web audit, producer depth interviews and an e-mailed on-line producer survey. Irish consumers acknowledged potential for on-line sales of Irish speciality food products to export and gift markets; however they could not see significant advantages for on-line sales in the domestic market. Experience with the product (and consequent importance of the purchase experience), the high delivery cost of an already premium priced product and difficulties associated with receipt of deliveries were identified as the main reasons for not purchasing on-line.
    • Identification Of Environmental Variables For Use In Monitoring For The Evaluation Of The Rural Environment Protection Scheme

      Finn, John A.; Kavanagh, B.; Flynn, M.; Environmental Protection Agency; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 2001-EEA/DS10-M2 (Teagasc, 2005-04-01)
      The aim of this study was to identify and select quantitative environmental attributes for a monitoring programme that may be integrated into an environmental evaluation of Ireland’s agri-environmental scheme. This was achieved primarily by reviewing a range of agri-environmental indicators and suggesting indicators that would be appropriate for monitoring the REPS. The study conducted a desk review to collate information on current best practice in monitoring for environmental quality. A Project Group (comprising representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], Department of Agriculture and Food [DAF], Teagasc, and the project supervisors) advised on the ongoing development of the project. There was a consultation process with national experts, and with a selection of stakeholder organisations with an interest in monitoring the environmental impact of the REPS.