The Farming for Nature (FFN) project is delighted to welcome 23 inspiring new farmers to their growing Ambassador network. Now in its fourth 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, 23 of these farmers have been selected as Ambassadors this year. This year’s ambassadors come from across Ireland and include beef, sheep, forestry, dairy, horticulture and tillage farmers who manage a wide range of very valuable habitats including species-rich grasslands and heaths, wetlands, woodlands and hedgerows. 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; “this year’s farming for nature ambassadors are, like their predecessors, just so engaging and inspirational. They provide a powerful and timely testimony as to how farming and nature can, and must, work in harmony – and that simple actions can make a big difference. These farmers deserve our respect, gratitude and support: they embody all that’s great about rural Ireland and they offer great hope at a time of climate and biodiversity crises.”
Seven of these Ambassadors featured in the recent FFN Public Vote Awards in September and October of this year, where Kildare father-son farmers Michael and Norman Dunne were crowned the Public Vote Award Winners. FFN will now feature the remaining 16 Ambassadors on a bi-monthly basis over the next 10 months. 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 to produce podcasts, ‘Ask the Farmer’ sessions, farm walks and more. Go to www.farmingfornature.ie to learn about our growing network of Ambassador farmers and access resources, information and tips.
The 2021 Farming For Nature Ambassadors are: Thomas Stack (Summerhill Dairy Farm, Co. Limerick), Fergal Anderson & Emanuela Russo (Loughrea, Co. Galway), Madeline McKeever & Holly Cairns (Brown Envelope Seeds, Co. Cork), Pat McKenna (Co. Monaghan), Colm Gavin (Co. Mayo), Gearoid Maher (Co. Limerick), James Breslin (Inishowen, Co. Donegal), Henry O’Donnell (Inishowen, Co. Donegal), Rod and Julie Calder-Potts (Highbank Organic Orchard, Co. Kilkenny), Michael McManus (Spa Cottage Farm, Co. Leitrim), Nicholas Redmond (Ballygarrett, Co. Wexford), Muller Family (Glendree Organic Farm, Co. Clare), Louis McAuley (Co. Meath), Graham Harris (Co. Kildare), Joe & Aoife Reilly (Glasraí Organic Farm, Co. Mayo), Eoghan Daltun (Beara, Co. Cork), Cathal Mooney (Heather Hill Farm, Co. Donegal), Gerard Deegan (Co. Westmeath), Paul Moore (Middleton, Co. Cork), Nia O Malley (Co. Galway), Michael and Norman Dunne (Co. Kildare), Anthony Mooney (Co. Kildare) and Noel Kiernan (Co. Longford).
“It is great to be able to meet all these people who think the same way as we do. Very often, as a farmer, you work in isolation, especially if you do something a bit different from the “norm”. It gives a great boost to know there are a lot more farmers who do the same thing in their own corner and to feel supported in your ideas” says FFN Ambassador Kim McCall.
The Farming for Nature 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.
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