The National Rural Network (NRN) has begun its search for Ireland’s Biodiversity Farmer of the Year.

The award, which is part of the 22nd Macra na Feirme FBD Young Farmer of the Year competition, aims to “draw attention to the importance of biodiversity, by celebrating those who are farming in a sustainable manner that protects and enhances biodiversity on their farms”.

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Commenting on the launch of this year’s awards, Seamus Boland – project director of the NRN – said:

“Ireland’s native flora and fauna are under threat. Sustainable farming methods are essential to protect, enhance and halt the decline of biodiversity in Ireland.

Agriculture relies on biodiversity in many ways: bees pollinate crops; earthworms build soil fertility; bacteria and soil biota break down nutrients; and birds and insects keep plant pests and diseases in check.

Raymond Langan, a sheep farmer from Co. Mayo, won the inaugural NRN Biodiversity Farmer of the Year award in 2018 and Alan Doyle, a drystock farmer from Co. Kilkenny, won in 2019.

FBD Young Farmer of the Year

Along with the search for the Irish Biodiversity Farmer of the Year, young farmers involved in dairy, drystock (beef and sheep), tillage, pigs, poultry, horticulture and other sectors are invited to enter the FBD Young Farmer of the Year competition.

The winners in each sector will then compete to be named the 2020 FBD Young Farmer of the Year.

This year also features awards for: Best Emerging Young Farmer; Most Climate Conscious Young Farmer; and Best Farm Manager.

There is also a ‘Land Mobility’ category, which will focus on “farmers who display innovative solutions to accessing and utilising land for farming”.