Farming for Nature judging process for ambassador awards gets underway

Farming for Nature is beginning its judging process for its 2021 ambassador awards, having received 48 nominations.

Farming for Nature is a national initiative which highlights the positive role that farmers play in looking after nature on their land. Now in its fourth year of having the awards, Farming for Nature already has a network of 40 ambassadors scattered across Ireland.

This year’s nominees will now engage in an in-depth interview and judging process so that by late summer, a shortlist of 2021 ambassadors will be compiled.

‘Each one of them has a story to tell’

Discussing the judging process, Farming for Nature co-ordinator Brigid Barry said: “We receive our nominations through a panel of over 200 heritage specialists across Ireland, and are currently interviewing each of the nominees.

“We will shortlist these using agreed criteria, then our judges will visit each farm on the shortlist before collectively deciding on this year’s list of ambassadors.

The range of nominations this year is exceptional – from two to 1,700ac in size; organic and conventional systems farming beef, lamb, dairy, poultry and pigs.

“Each one of them has a story to tell, making the shortlisting process difficult and enjoyable in equal measure.”

One of the founders of Farming for Nature, Brendan Dunford, said that seeing and hearing these farmers “share their love of nature and knowing that they work day in day out to make sure nature has a place on their farms is really inspiring”.

“To me, these people are our unsung conservation heroes,” he said.

“We [Farming for Nature] want to share these stories to inspire other farmers as we are convinced that, with the appropriate, targeted financial and technical support, farmers represent a great resource in tacking our biodiversity and climate crises.”

The list of nominees is available online.