10 Farming for Nature ambassadors announced

The national Farming For Nature initiative has announced its 10 Farming for Nature ambassadors for 2019 and is encouraging people to view 10 specially commissioned short films about the farmers and their work, and then to vote for their favourite.

Now in its second year, Farming For Nature aims to source, share and celebrate the stories of farmers across Ireland who manage their land in a way that sustains nature and the farm family.

Nominations are sought annually from a broad panel of environmental experts and through a rigorous system of interviews, farm visits and assessments by a panel of judges – 10 of these farmers are selected as ambassadors.

Educational and inspirational

This year’s ambassadors come from right across Ireland and include beef, sheep and tillage farmers who manage a wide range of very valuable habitats including species-rich grasslands and heaths, wetlands, woodlands and hedgerows.

One of the volunteers with Farming for Nature, Dr. Brendan Dunford of the Burren programme, said that the stories told by the 10 ambassadors are educational and inspirational.

Their knowledge and passion shines through, providing powerful testimony as to how farming and nature can, and must, work in harmony.

“We hope that these stories, which also demonstrate that simple actions can make a big difference for the well-being of nature and of people, will inspire other farmers to take some small steps to look after their farm’s wildlife.

“As a society we must also recognise that these farmers are deserving of our respect and support. They embody all that’s great about rural Ireland.”

Vote for your favourite ‘story’

Project co-ordinator Brigid Barry said they are delighted to have Farming for Nature ambassadors this year from Donegal to Kerry and Tipperary to Westmeath, from organic to conventional and from beef to sheep, tillage to mixed farming systems.

“We would really encourage the public to view their stories to get a flavour of what farming for nature is all about, and also to vote for their favourite ‘story.’

“They can do so by simply visiting: www.farmingfornature.ie and choosing the story that resonates most with them. I think every farmer in Ireland will be able to relate to at least one of these farmers and admire what they have managed to do on their farms,” she said.

The 10 ambassadors will be featured at the annual Burren Winterage Weekend – www.burrenwinterage.com – in October when the winner of the public vote will also be announced.

The prestigious award, sponsored by Bord Bia, is part of the independent Farming for Nature initiative which hopes to celebrate and support farmers across Ireland who are doing great things for nature on their land and in their community.

From an initial longlist of farmers – nominated by over 150 environmental professionals earlier this year – 10 ambassadors representing a range of geographies and farming systems have been selected, joining six others from 2018.

The Farming for Nature awards are sponsored by Bord Bia and supported by a wide range of farming and conservation interests including the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; the national parks and wildlife service; and the National Rural Network. The deadline for 2019 voting is midnight on Thursday, October 24.

For more information, contact Brigid on: [email protected].