The Farming for Nature (FFN) project is delighted to welcome 15 inspiring new farmers to their growing Ambassador network. Now in its fifth year, FFN was set up with an aim to source, share and celebrate the stories of farmers across Ireland who manage their land in a way that sustains nature, while providing a livelihood for their family. Nominations are sought annually from a broad panel of environmental experts and through a rigorous system of interviews, farm visits and assessments by a panel of judges; 15 of these farmers have now been selected as Ambassadors this year. This year’s Ambassadors come from across Ireland and include beef, sheep, forestry, dairy, HNV, horticulture and tillage farmers who manage a wide range of very valuable habitats including species-rich grasslands, uplands, wetlands, woodlands, hedgerows and more. The FFN ambassador network is made up of family farms, couples, and both male and female farmers.
Dr. Brendan Dunford of the Burren Programme, founder and committed volunteer with Farming for Nature said; “At a time of so much divisive debate around food security, biodiversity loss and climate change, this year’s farming for nature ambassadors offer us the hope, inspiration and practical advice that we so desperately need to navigate the challenges – and embrace the opportunities – that lie ahead. These farmers deserve our respect, gratitude and support: they embody all that’s great about rural Ireland and we are so proud of them.”
The 2022 Farming for Nature Ambassadors are:
Andrew Chilton Alpaca, Co. Roscommon
Aonghus Ó Coistealbha Market gardening, Co. Galway
Brigid O’Connor Sheep, Co. Kerry
Bronagh & Cathal O’Rourke Beef, Co. Clare
Colm Flynn Tillage, Co. Kildare
David Dennison Vineyard & orchard, Co. Waterford
Gerry Fitzsimons Beef, Co. Cavan
James Ham Forestry & beef, Co. Westmeath
Mark Gillanders Tillage & beef, Co. Monaghan
Mark Harold Barry Tillage, forestry & beef, Co. Tipperary
Maurice Deasy Tillage & sheep, Co. Tipperary
McDonagh Family Horticulture & mixed stock, Co. Mayo
Pat Mulrooney Dairy, Co. Tipperary
Paul McCormick & Jacinta French Beef & nature, Co. Cork
Sean Condon Dairy, Co. Limerick
Five of these Ambassadors will be featured in the upcoming FFN Public Vote Awards during September-October whereby the public are encouraged to watch a short series of farm videos and vote for their favourite farming story – these videos can be viewed on www.farmingfornature.ie. This year’s public vote Ambassadors are Brigid O’Connor (Kerry), James Ham (Westmeath), Mark Gillanders (Monaghan), Mark Harold-Barry (Tipperary) and Sean Condon (Limerick). These farmers represent a cross-section of the new group of ambassadors and the aim of the public vote campaign is to raise awareness of the valuable work that so many farmers do to support nature on their land.
The remaining 10 Ambassadors will be introduced on a monthly basis from November 2022 until August 2023. Keep an eye on FFN’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter platforms to learn more about these wonderful farmers and the valuable work they are doing for nature on their land. FFN will work these new Ambassadors over the upcoming year to produce podcasts, online live Q&A sessions, farm walks and more.
The national Farming for Nature Ambassador Awards are sponsored by Bord Bia and supported by a wide range of farming and conservation interests including the Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the National Rural Network.
For more information go to www.farmingfornature.ie or contact [email protected]