Great Agri-Food Debate 2021 to take place virtually for first time

12 March, 21

– Six colleges to participate from around Ireland and the UK

– University of Aberystwyth (Wales) joins for the first time

– University College Dublin to defend their 2020 crown

Students of food and agriculture at six third level colleges from across Ireland and the UK will gather virtually for the 6th Annual Great Agri-Food Debate across 3 days in March and April.

The Debate is a joint initiative between Dawn Meats & McDonald’s, and this is the first year the competition will be held virtually. This year’s debate also brings another new dimension to proceedings with the involvement of the University of Aberystwyth, marking the first time a college from outside the island of Ireland has been involved, emphasizing the shared need for continued dialogue on issues of common interest in the UK & Irish agri-food sector.

Students from the University of Aberystwyth will be joined by five other third level colleges in a competitive program of debate across March 30th, 31st and April 1st. University of Limerick, last year’s winners University College Dublin, Northern Ireland’s College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), Dundalk Institute of Technology and 2019 winners Waterford Institute of Technology will compete across the three days.

Sustainability and its role in the future of the agri-food industry will be central to the discussions, with students debating the following motions:

– Plastic is not the enemy of our blue planet

– Lab grown meats will not replace traditional livestock farming systems

– The livestock sector can meet the requirements for net zero

Commenting, Niall Browne, CEO Dawn Meats said:
“Despite the challenges faced by both the food industry and the education sector, we are delighted that the Great Agri-food Debate can continue in its sixth year, albeit with a slightly different format to previous years. The participation of the University of Aberystwyth in Wales is timely, and I look forward to the different perspectives they will bring. I also wish all participants the very best of luck, and I’m eager to hear the voices of the future of our industry”

Beth Hart, McDonald’s UK and Ireland Vice President for Supply Chain and Brand Trust commented:
“We are proud to partner with Dawn Meats to support this year’s 2021 Virtual Great Agri Food Debate. During these challenging times, it is more vital than ever that young people are encouraged to engage with the big issues of our times – whether that’s climate change or debating what a post-Covid world could look like. At McDonald’s we work with many of the UK and Ireland’s best farm producers, so it’s no surprise that we attach huge importance to engaging with and understanding the ideas and viewpoints of the next generation coming through Irish and UK colleges and universities. Good luck to all participants and I look forward to an informative and fun day.”

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