Who can make a nomination?
In excess of 200 accredited professionals in the area of ‘farmland biodiversity’ across Ireland will be invited to nominate a farmer who they feel is worthy of recognition/acknowledgement for their work in supporting nature on their farm and in their community. Nominations will be sought from relevant individuals, including (but not limited to) those working within the following organisations:
- The National Parks and Wildlife Service (e.g. Field and Research Staff)
- The Heritage Council (e.g. Heritage Officers and Biodiversity Officers)
- The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (e.g. ecologists)
- The National Biodiversity Data Centre
- Teagasc (e.g. Farming For Water Quality ASSAP officers and Farm Advisors)
- The National Rural Network
- The Organic Trust (Inspectors)
- The Irish Organic Association (Inspectors)
- Third level colleges (e.g. ecologists)
- Local Water Authority Programme (e.g. Local Commmunity Water Officers)
- Members of the Environmental Pillar
- Representatives of relevant EIP, EU LIFE and INTERREG levant Projects in the ROI
- Farming For Nature Ambassadors from previous years
If you would like to be included in our nominators list, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a farmer and would like to be nominated, please contact your local farm advisor (Teagasc or FAS-accredited), your county Heritage Officer (County Council) or your local wildlife ranger (NPWS) to visit the farm and make a nomination on your behalf.
How do I nominate a farmer for the award?
Nominations for 2021 are open 1st January-24th January 2021. If you are contacted and invited to make a nomination, you can either fill in the online application form by clicking here or, if you would prefer, you can download an application here either email it in to email@example.com or send it by post by the closing date to Farming for Nature, Burrenbeo Trust, Glebe House, Kinvara, Co. Galway. Before you nominate, please make sure you have asked the farmer for permission to nominate them for this award and let them know that they can expect a follow-up chat with one of our team. If you wish to view a sample nomination form, view HERE
If you aren’t on our nominators list but would like to be, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Or if there is someone you feel that should be nominated you could also suggest to your local NPWS ranger or Heritage Officer that this person deserves to be nominated – if not this year, then in future years.
It is free to enter and to be involved in these Awards.
Who is to be nominated?
The awards are for farmers who:
- Are farming a minimum at one hectare and producing agricultural product for sale.
- Have made a significant contribution to the protection or enhancement of nature on their farm and/or in their locality.
- Are farming in a manner that is agriculturally, economically and socially progressive.
- Have shared their passion with others (eg through walks, local media etc).
- Have a record of engagement with other stakeholders.
- Were not already awarded an ambassador roles in previous years. See here.
Nominations can be for individual farmers, couples, or farm families.
Nominating a farmer for this award as it’s a great opportunity to demonstrate your respect and admiration for this farmer, to share his/her/their. inspiring story with others and perhaps encourage other farmers to adopt nature-friendly activities on their land!
What happens once the nomination has been submitted?
- Once the nomination is received, the farmer will be contacted by the team in order to find out a little more. Then a short description of the farm with photos will be put up online, with the farmer’s permission.
- The nominator may also be contacted in order to learn more.
- The farmer may be asked to suggest a farm advisor or someone that could be contacted by the team for further information.
- All nominations will then be reviewed and assessed in line with the listed criteria, and a shortlist of (at least) 10 farms will be compiled.
- Members of our judging panel will visit each of the shortlisted farms and decide on which farms which best embody the ‘farming for nature’ principles and would be good ambassadors of same.
- A short film will be made of the judges shortlist.
- Further to ratification from the judges a further shortlist will be created and each of these farmers will be invited to become a Farming for Nature Ambassadors.
- Some of these will put forward to represent different farming systems for an online voting system so the public can vote for their overall favourite.
- Each of these Ambassadors will each be presented with an award on the October bank holiday as part of the Burren Winterage School on Sustainable farming, and the winner of the public vote will also be announced.
- In the following months after the Burren Winterage Weekend, we will announce a farmer a month as an Ambassador.
Who will be on the Judging Panel?
The assessment panel includes a selection of individuals from the environmental, agricultural and community sector, reflecting the importance of economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable farming. See here who is on the panel.
What is the Award?
- All ‘Farming for Nature Ambassadors’ will each receive an invitation to the awards ceremony (incl. dinner, B&B) and at the awards they will be presented with a beautiful stone plaque. If they are a monthly ambassador they will get their plaque during their month.
- Each Ambassador gets a small cash prize to acknowledge their contribution to nature on their farms. The winner of the public vote will receive a slightly larger cash prize.
- A short film will be commissioned on all ‘Farming for Nature Ambassador’ public vote farms and a podcast on the monthly farms which farmers can use as they wish.
What does being an ‘Ambassador’ entail?
- Continue to work in protecting and enhancing nature on the farm and/or in their locality
- Share their knowledge and passion for nature with others
- Promote and support the ‘Farming for Nature’ initiative and network
- Share their knowledge with us, and with others, on how best to farm for nature
- Join us for at least one networking event every year
- Inform us if situations arise which may lead to their FFN ambassadorship being compromised
- Remain an active ambassador for the next 5 years
In addition, as an FFN Ambassador we would be really grateful if they might also consider:
- Holding a farm walk and/or a webinar once a year for other farmers or interested parties to learn first-hand what work has done on their farm for nature.
- Representing FFN at educational events if relevance – conferences, open days, ploughing championships etc.
- Sharing their story with the media, locally and nationally, to help inspire other farmers and members of the public.
- Advising other interested farmers who may want to learn from them about their farming system.
- Supporting the FFN team with requests for information, for example on best practice, on research needs and on agri-environment policy.
- Nominating other farmers their know to be considered for future FFN ambassadors.
Who are the ambassadors to date?
Please go here to see our list of Farming For Nature Ambassadors since 2018. These farmers are all committed to being ambassadors for the initiative for the next 5 years.
Who has funded this initiative?
Most of the work for this initiative is being done on a voluntary basis. However, we are very grateful to our key sponsor of the awards, Bord Bia’s Origin Green Programme. This includes the cost of the awards night and awards, the cost of making short films, website etc, and the cost of the day to day co-ordination of the initiative. No profit is generated from this event. Aside from the Awards funding, we are grateful to the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine for providing support in coordination, developing resources for farmers, podcasts, videos etc. And to the National Rural Network for support in the coordination of this initiative.
Who is ‘behind’ this?
The Farming for Nature initiative was developed by a small group of enthusiasts based in and around the Burren region in Co. Clare and Galway. It is a genuine attempt to try to encourage a more positive working relationship between our farming systems and the natural environment on which they depend. Brendan, Brigid, James, Michael – and too many others to mention – worked together in the Burren for many years and are passionate about the positive role that the right type of farming can play in terms of supporting our natural world. We felt that there are so many great stories out there that should be told, so many great farmers that should be acknowledged, we decided to try to do something about it. So we approached Bord Bia in 2018 with the idea of a national Award and they very kindly agreed to help. Since then, any other organisation we approached – NPWS, DAFM, NRN etc – have all willingly come on board to support what we feel can make an important contribution to nature and to farming.
Whilst we understand farming is under pressure but unfortunately so too is nature. We fully recognise (and advocate) that funding and support are urgently required if farming is to deliver on its potential to restore and enhance nature.
Why are we doing this?
There is widespread awareness of the environmental damage that can be caused by the wrong type of farming. We hear about it all the time and no doubt about it, there are really serious problems to be addressed, and urgently. There isn’t as much discussion of those that are doing a great job farming for nature, about the positive stories, meaning we don’t have many good role models. This negative narrative can alienate farmers from nature, making them feel apart from it rather than part of it. Encouraging farmers to feel that they are part of the solution, not just the problem, is the first step in a long journey which will require a lot of financial and technical support, new partnerships and new visions. This can hopefully be the start.