As part of Glanbia Ireland’s Operation Biodiversity campaign, farmers plan to plant 100,000 trees and hedgerows by Christmas 2021.
Twelve months ahead of their original schedule, farm families across several counties have joined forces to protect wildlife and boost biodiversity.
This year, Glanbia Ireland will also reward a living proof sustainability champion with a €5,000 prize fund in a competition on its website.
According to organisers, Operation Biodiversity, has, to date, “surpassed all expectations”.
Glanbia Ireland chairman, John Murphy, said they are “proud” to donate “significant” volumes of native trees and hedging plants.
This is part of a long-term programme to:
- Encourage biodiversity;
- Reduce risks to water quality;
- Enhance carbon stocks.
“Since its launch in December 2020, Operation Biodiversity has helped enrich our landscape.”
“Every single native tree and metre of hedgerow planted is making a difference and builds on the great work that farm families are already doing as custodians of the land.”
“We committed to planting 100,000 native trees and hedging plants over two years when we launched Operation Biodiversity last December.”
“To date, our farm family suppliers have already planted 83,000 native trees and hedgerows. This shows the appetite for biodiversity and climate action on farms and in the community.”
“This year, Glanbia Ireland is increasing its contribution to Operation Biodiversity by funding additional native trees and hedging.”
“We have also set up the €5,000 competition to showcase and recognise the school, voluntary group or community with the best sustainability credentials.”
“We want to help it to deliver on its biodiversity ambition. Schools and communities do invaluable work to protect our environment.”
“We are anxious to play our part as promised under our ‘living proof’ sustainability strategy to support, reward and encourage these efforts.”
In the 2021 phase of Operation Biodiversity, for every 15 native trees purchased in their CountryLife or agri stores, Glanbia Ireland is giving away a further 10 for free.
Also, for every two bare-root hedgerow bundles purchased, it is giving a third bundle away at no additional cost. It aims to help its farmers sow up to 10 metres more of hedges.
Pollinator and biodiversity-friendly
Dr Michelle Larkin, National Pollinator Monitoring Scheme Officer with the National Biodiversity Data Centre, said:
“Irish farms can be pollinator and biodiversity-friendly without impacting on agricultural productivity.”
“Low-cost small actions can help improve pollinator biodiversity and biodiversity in general.”
“Planting native trees and hedgerows is an excellent way to help. Leaving hedgerows uncut for a minimum of three years is brilliant as it allows them to flower, giving pollinators food.”
“Cutting hedges in rotation instead of all at once will also ensure that some areas of hedgerow will always flower,” she added.
Operation Biodiversity builds on the “many actions” already in progress on farms and in the community and on the “strong foundations” put in place by earlier Glanbia Ireland sustainability programmes, including Operation PolliNation and Operation WildNation.