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Network Profile Name of Network: National Organic Training Skillnet Number of members: 2800 Sector(s) covered: Agriculture / Agri-food Year established: 2007   For our latest Network Insider interview we spoke to National Organic Training Skillnet (NOTS) Network Manager, Seán McGloin, to learn more about the upskilling and development opportunities they offer in organic food production and farming.  

Please describe what your Skillnet business network does and how it came about?

National Organic Training Skillnet (NOTS) is primarily focused on the provision and development of training in organic food production. In addition, networking and stimulating the sector is an important part of what NOTS Skillnet does. The Network is deeply embedded within its’ membership and strives to find solutions that will increase organic production and organic farm and business incomes. The Network was first established as the Western Organic Network, which was funded by Skillnet Ireland and set up based on the analysis of a study that found one of the biggest obstacles to the development of organic agriculture was a lack of knowledge in production and processing.  

Can you outline one key way NOTS Skillnet impacts positively on your sector?

Since inception, our Skillnet has strived to find solutions through training and networking for our members regardless of entry level. NOTS Skillnet has developed training programmes to create a circular economy from entry level production to processing, and in recent years, we have taken the lead in developing climate change farming awareness. We promote the idea of how organic farming techniques have the potential to reverse climate change effects through soil carbon sequestration.  

What has been the most transformative initiative in your sector in the last year?

BioFarm - Ireland’s Biological Farming Conference has been transformational for us. In 2020, we converted it to an online conference, and the response was amazing – more than 1,000 people bought tickets and we were able to attract the highest-level agricultural experts in their field as keynote speakers. The recognition of BioFarm as an event that provided practical, climate change solutions has been incredible. The event showcases climate change mitigation techniques on the ground and has been noted by policy makers as a “game-changer” - while also attracting interest from the industry sectors on carbon trading.  

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