Farming for Nature Awards: ‘Simple actions can make a big difference for nature’

This year’s Farming for Nature ambassadors were commended in recent days, as their work demonstrates how “simple actions can make a big difference for the wellbeing of nature”.

The 2020 National Farming for Nature Ambassador Awards were held on Saturday night (October 24). Now in their third year, the awards recognised eight examples of how farming can have a “positive impact on our biodiversity and climate”.

‘Your efforts represent taking action on crucial ecological issues’

President Michael D. Higgins wrote to the farmers ahead of the awards and stressed their importance in addressing biodiversity and climate crises.

“Your efforts represent real and tangible forms of active citizenship, contributing to social betterment in so many communities across the country, taking action on crucial ecological issues in order to make a real difference,” the president wrote.

These ambassadors operate beef, sheep, horticultural and tillage systems and worked with a range of valuable habitats including species-rich grasslands and heaths, wetlands, woodlands and hedgerows.

“Each one represents an inspiring story around managing this land in a way that sustains nature while remaining productive.”

Farming for Nature co-ordinator Brigid Barry says that every farmer in Ireland “will be able to relate to at least one of these farmers and admire what they have managed to achieve on their farms”.

A short film on each of the farmers was commissioned so that the public could learn more about farming for nature and to choose their favourite story.

‘Simple actions can make a big difference’

With thousands of votes cast in the last few weeks, the winner of the Public’s Choice Award was east Clare farmer Jim Cronin from Bridgetown.

The Minister of State with responsibility for land use and biodiversity, Pippa Hackett, joined the virtual event to present the ambassadors with their awards and announce the public choice winner.

One of the drivers behind the initiative, Dr. Brendan Dunford of the Burren Programme, said that the “knowledge, passion and eloquence” of these farmers shines through and their work demonstrates that “simple actions can make a big difference for the wellbeing of nature and of people; and will hopefully inspire other farmers to take some small steps to look after their farm’s wildlife”.