The Horse’s Mouth Mentorship
A farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing project
IS NOW CLOSED FOR THE SEPTEMBER 2022 ROUND
Here at Farming For Nature (FFN) we often get queries from farmers and landowners who are seeking on-site advice about how to enhance the biodiversity of their land but aren’t quite sure how best to proceed. Some have asked for a fellow farmer to visit and provide practical tips. In response to this, we are piloting a farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing service to help people decide on what actions could be undertaken to improve the environmental condition of a site and how to do them. This will be piloted in Autumn 2022 with a view to expanding it in the future.
This project for farmers and landowners looking for on-the-ground practical advice from fellow farmers. It will involve an informal walk and talk on the farm and the sharing of simple, practical advice and encouragement.
How to get involved
- Please ensure that you are happy with what is expected of you as the host farmer (see below) and wish to proceed with the application process.
- Complete the application form by the deadline: IS NOW CLOSE FOR THIS ROUND. WE HOPE TO OPEN IT AGAIN IN SPRING 2023
- We will be shortlisting 10-20 applications for this year’s pilot phase depending on the interest and capacity. To ensure your application is given serious consideration, please complete the application to the best of your knowledge.
- We will let you know before the end of September if you have been shortlisted for a peer-to-peer visit.
What is expected of the host farmer:
- If shortlisted, you will be invited to attend an online introductory meeting in October with all the interested Ambassadors and the selected farmers. This will take just one hour of your time.
- We will then ‘match’ you with a FFN mentor, chosen from our national network of Ambassadors. You will be asked to make yourself familiar with this FFN Mentor by looking at their online profile and watching/listening to any videos/podcasts they have. These links will be sent to you beforehand.
- You and the FFN Mentor will arrange a date to walk the farm along a route decided by you beforehand – it should include all the potential habitats and areas that you hope to improve (ie hedgerows, watercourses, woodlands, crops etc).
- We encourage you to take notes during this visit.
- The visit should last no more than 3-4 hours and should focus on the habitats present and how you might be improved for nature through simple changes in management.
- Following the visit, a short list of recommendations will be drawn up by the FFN Mentor and sent along with any other useful resources to you by FFN within a month.
- You would need to fill out a short feedback form to help us develop this programme going forward.
- IMPORTANT: We would ask that the Mentor’s goodwill and time is respected with any further engagement post-visit to be done through FFN.
Cost to you
- You must pay the visiting Ambassador €50 on arrival. We will pay the remaining balance to the Ambassador for their time.
This is a list of FFN Ambassadors who are willing to act as Mentors for this pilot project. In your application form, you will have the option to request a specific mentor (ideally one that is close by) otherwise we will suggest a suitable mentor based on what we consider to be the best match. Not all selections can be guaranteed.
Andrew Bergin, Tillage, Kildare. See profile here.
Donna Mullen, Mixed stock, Louth. See profile here.
Kim McCall, Beef, Kildare. See profile here.
Noel Kiernan, Forestry, Longford. See profile here.
Suzanna Crampton, Sheep, Kilkenny. See profile here.
Joe Condon, Beef, Tipperary. See profile here.
Michael Hickey, Beef, Tipperary. See profile here.
Mona Muller, Mixed stock, Clare. See profile here.
Nicholas Redmond, Mixed stock, Wexford. See profile here.
Paul Moore, Tillage & Beef, Cork. See profile here.
Sean O Farrell, Mixed stock, Tipperary. See profile here.
Thomas Fouhy, Tillage, Cork. See profile here.
Thomas O Connor, Horticulture, Kerry. See profile here.
Feedback from previous participants
It was a fascinating and stimulating visit. I immediately found myself looking at our own farm with fresh eyes and full of new ideas. I think the two of us could have stayed chatting for hours! Farming can be a very solitary pursuit, and it is important that we, as farmers, periodically bring in outside perspectives and support(s).
Farming For Nature Ambassadors such as Clive demonstrate that environmental protection/enhancement and profitability do not have to be mutually exclusive. I think that this is an important aspect in attracting a great number of farmers towards farming alongside nature, especially younger generations of farmers. I think that there is often a misconception in agriculture that it is one or the other. Michael Doherty, Farmer, Co.Sligo. Participant 2022.