National Farming for Nature Ambassador Awards 2021
– showcasing excellence in sustainability
Farming for Nature (FFN) is a national initiative which highlights the positive role that farmers can, and do, play in looking after nature on their land. FFN aims to share the practical insights of these exceptional farmers through a range of short films, podcasts, webinars and farm walks, giving them a louder voice in the debate as to how we can take action at farm level to tackle our biodiversity and climate crises in Ireland.
Now in its fourth year, FFN has grown to an active network of over 40 wonderful, eloquent Ambassadors scattered across Ireland, who are inspiring many other farmers to take simple measures to enhance nature on their land. Supported by Bord Bia’s Origin Green programme since its inception, in early 2021 FFN received 48 new nominations for farmers that are going that extra mile for nature. The 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.
Describing the process, FFN co-ordinator Brigid Barry explained the nomination and selection process for the award ‘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 2 to 1,700acre 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!
The FFN Ambassador award are sponsored by Bord Bia’s Origin Green programme, the Director of which, Deirdre Ryan, says “Origin Green is proud to collaborate with Farming for Nature, an initiative that exemplifies the power of partnership and the benefits of knowledge sharing within Irish agriculture. The expertise and experience of the FFN Ambassadors, and their willingness to share their knowledge with their farming peers, is a great asset to the farming sector. I look forward to hearing the stories of a new group of progressive Irish farmers and to celebrating their efforts.”
One of the founders of FFN, Brendan Dunford, explained that ‘for the past few years, with Bord Bia’s support, we have been able to acknowledge and celebrate farmers across Ireland who are doing great things for nature. 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. At FFN we 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’.
Thomas O’Connor, a Farming For Nature Ambassador and winner of the public vote in the past, explained the importance of the FFN award to him and his family ‘It’s great to be able to meet all these people who think the same way as we do. Delighted to win the public vote but the real winning was been nominated and meeting like-minded farmers from across the country and spectrum of farming systems. For us it was a privilege to be there with such high-class people engaged with their land.”
See the full list of nominees and their details here.