Organisers of the national Farming for Nature initiative have announced its first cohort of seven ambassadors for 2021.
They are encouraging the public to view a series of short films that provide an insight into these farmers.
Now in its fourth year, FFN aims 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 families”.
Farming for Nature ambassadors 2021
Organisers seek nominations annually from a broad panel of environmental experts.
Through a rigorous system of interviews, farm visits and assessments by a panel of judges, 23 of these farmers were selected as ambassadors in 2021.
This year’s ambassadors come from across Ireland and include beef, sheep, horticulture and tillage farmers.
They manage a wide range of valuable habitats, including species-rich grasslands and heaths, wetlands, woodlands and hedgerows.
“Our ambassador network comprises family farms, couples, and both male and female farmers,” organisers said.
How farming and nature can work in harmony
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 is great about rural Ireland, and offer great hope at a time of climate and biodiversity crises.”
Vote for a story that ‘resonates most’
Project coordinator Brigid Barry added: “We are delighted to have Farming for Nature Ambassadors this year from Donegal to Wexford, Meath to Cork, from organic to conventional, from beef to forestry, tillage to mixed farming systems each with so much to share on how to farming alongside nature. “
“We would encourage the public to view their stories to get a flavour of what farming for nature is all about and to vote for their favourite story.”
“They can do so by simply visiting www.farmingfornature.ie and choosing the story that resonates most with them. I think every farmer in Ireland will be able to relate to at least one of these stories and learn a little something.”
“Also, we hope to organise Q&As with these farmers and educational walks on these farms in 2022.”
Sponsors and voting deadline
The 7 ambassadors will feature at the annual Burren Winterage Weekend in October. Organisers will announce the winner of the public vote at this event.
Sixteen ambassadors will be announced and profiled over the coming months, joining a network of 43 ambassadors from 2018, 2019 and 2020.
The Farming for Nature Awards are sponsored by Bord Bia and supported by a wide range of farming and conservation interests, including the DAFM, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the National Rural Network.
The deadline for 2021 voting is midnight Friday, October 22nd 2021.