Welcome to the July-August edition of the Farming for Nature Newsletter. This bimonthly publication contains news and upcoming events, offers helpful nature-friendly tips for your farm, and shares useful resources, including words of wisdom from our farmers!
As Summer rolls on we’ve already witnessed weather extremes of drought and flooding, offering additional challenges for farmers, their livestock and crops. Now that July is upon us, it’s great to see many of our pastures and meadows recovering to host a wonderful array of plants and pollinators. As we emerge from isolation we are grateful to those farmers who continue to produce safe, nutritious food while at the same time providing space for nature on their land. This week has seen the announcement of a ‘super-junior’ Minister for land use and biodiversity, Pippa Hackett, which hopefully augurs well for our network of ‘farmers for nature’ and will bring more recognition and support to those farm families who produce nutritious local food in harmony with nature.
The Farming for Nature initiative was established to help acknowledge and support those farmers who farm, or wish to farm, in a way that improves the natural health of our countryside. It was set up by people with a genuine interest in the wellbeing of our rural landscapes, many of whom work on a voluntary basis to build up this network and profile the good practices that are happening across the country. There are ways in which we can all get involved in this initiative, so please read on and see what you can do.
Farming for Nature Short Video
Ask the Farmer Series
These sessions will take place on Mondays in July and August at 8pm – Register now and don’t miss out!!!
These Monday evening sessions will include a short interview with the featured farmer and then an open Q&A session where you can ‘ask the farmer’ about anything you want to know about farming for nature on their farm, with a focus on practical management advice. It is a great opportunity to learn from our amazing Ambassadors who work with nature every day on their farms, and also to share your own ideas and experience of ‘Farming for Nature’. These sessions will take place on Mondays in July and August at 8pm online through Zoom and will last up to one hour.
20th July: Farming with sheep & agritourism with Suzanna Crampton Register here
27th July: Farming for habitats & species with Feargal Ó Cuinneagáin Register here
3rd August: Hillfarming & species richness with Bridget Murphy Register here
One of our wonderful (voluntary!) supporters has been out and about making superb podcasts with farmers across Ireland on our behalf. Hearing these farmers’ voices demonstrates what eloquent and knowledgeable spokespersons for nature they are! Be sure to tune in to these podcasts – most recent additions include Farming for Nature Ambassadors Feargal Ó Cuinneagáin and Darina Allen. Don’t forget to share, rate and review these podcasts.
Darina Allen’s Podcast
Feargal Ó Cuinneagáin’s Podcast
Farming For Nature wins Global Biodiversity Award!
We were delighted to learn in early July that, from a pool of over 200 great conservation projects across the world, Farming for Nature (FFN) was awarded 2nd place in a global biodiversity challenge! The ‘Act For Biodiversity Challenge’ sought to identify ‘bold social innovators who are bringing people together to take on the extensive, complex, and urgent issue’ of biodiversity loss, and to identify ways to ‘collaborate to preserve and restore biodiversity through solutions designed for agriculture, urban environments and forests’.
Here at FFN we believe that farmers are a potentially huge resource in responding to our climate and biodiversity crisis. To mobilise this resource, FFN tries to acknowledge and celebrate those farmers who already do great things for nature, then share their enthusiasm and practical knowledge with their farming peers. But we also recognise that farming is a business and so we strongly advocate paying farmers who deliver ecosystem services on their land, and supporting them with the research and advice to do so. This award will hopefully enable Farming For Nature to work with partners in other countries across the EU to highlight and support their own ‘farmers for nature’.
This award is a credit to our sponsors (Bord Bia, DAFM and NPWS) who have supported our work in Ireland thus far, and also to the amazing network of farmers we work alongside; farmers who every day are making space for nature and sharing their passion with their local and national communities. Take a bow Farming For Nature Ambassadors, this award is for you! More information on the award here.
The Farming for Nature Ambassador Awards are in full swing
In spite of all the obstacles, 2020 has been a great year for nominations for our FFN Ambassador Awards – so many superb farmers were nominated, thanks to all of those people who took the time to make a nomination. Each one of the nominated farmers has an inspiring story to tell – how and why they farm for nature – and we are grateful for the work of these unsung heroes. From beef to horticulture, sheep to poultry, Christmas trees to dairy, this year’s nominees represent a wide range of farming systems, land types and personal stories from 18 different counties.
The process of selecting this year’s Ambassadors is proceeding well. Given Covid restrictions, we won’t be able to visit all nominated farms this year (we will visit some in 2021 instead) but we have compiled a shortlist from our initial interviews and our judges will visit these farms over the coming months. Following this, we will compile our list of Ambassadors and select some of these to make a short film which we use for our ‘public vote’ in early September.
All of the 2020 nominees have an exceptional story to tell and were so generous in taking the time to share with us what they do on their farm to enhance habitats and attract more species, while endeavouring to remain economically viable. We welcome all of you into Farming for Nature network and will work with you all to share your inspiring stories and encourage others to make changes on their farms for nature. To view all the farmers from this year, click on the link below. The national Farming For Nature Ambassador Awards are supported by Bord Bia.
Our farm walks series will resume this August. These farm walks are an opportunity for the Farming For Nature Ambassador farmers to showcase their contribution to nature and good farming practices on their land. The walks are €5 to attend and you have to register in advance as spaces are limited. With such a range of farms and farming practices, this it is a great way to get ideas on what you can do on your farm for nature. Thanks to all our farmers for agreeing to lead walks.
1st AUGUST 2pm Thomas O’Connor Co.Kerry Register here
8th AUGUST 2pm Mark Hurst Co.Kildare Register here
15th AUGUST 2pm Moyhill Community Farm Co.Clare Register here
22nd AUGUST 2pm Ailbhe Gerrard Co.Tipperary Register here
5th SEPTEMBER 2pm Kate Egan Co.Westmeath Register here
12th SEPTEMBER 11am Olly Nolan Co.Dublin Register here
19th SEPTEMBER 11am Clive Bright Co.Sligo Register here
10th OCTOBER 2pm Edmund Joyce Co.Carlow Register here
See all Farm Walks here
Wild Wednesday Webinars
The Wild Wednesday Webinars were a series of webinars on the themes of farming, nature and heritage. Co-hosted by the Burrenbeo Trust and the Farming for Nature initiative, they took place between April and June 2020. Each webinar offered an opportunity to virtually meet and listen to a guest speaker as they shared their ideas, experiences and lessons they have learned. If you missed any of these you can view the recordings by clicking on the below.
Recordings of Wild Wednesday Webinars
Our monthly Ambassadors
In order to sustain the momentum of building our network of Farming For Nature Ambassadors across Ireland, each month we are announcing a new Ambassador, based on nominations we received and assessed in 2019. These individuals have been chosen in acknowledgement of their long-standing commitment and contribution to farming for nature on their land and in their community.