The search is now on for the 2019 National Rural Network (NRN) Biodiversity Farmer of the Year. This is the second year of this prestigious award, which is part of Macra na Feirme’s Young Farmer of the Year Awards.
The award, sponsored by the NRN, recognises a farmer who is farming in a sustainable manner by encouraging biodiversity and protecting the environment.
The first winner of the award was Raymond Langan from Ballycastle, near Ballina in Co. Mayo. Raymond was chosen because of his unwavering enthusiasm for protecting the environment. He is an upland sheep farmer, farming a 24-acre smallholding on tough terrain and 59 hectares of commonage.
“I was delighted to win the Biodiversity Award, I have a great interest in the environment and try to farm in a sustainable manner. Since winning the award, I have become more aware of the biodiversity that exists on my farm. I am taking steps to enhance and protect biodiversity on my farm. One such step is joining the Westport Beekeepers Association. I have also set up a bee hives on my farm, this will encourage pollination. Bees often travel up to 5km for nectar before bringing it back to hive and the commonage will provide suitable foraging grounds for them.
Ireland’s native wildlife is under threat and sustainable farming methods are essential to protecting and enhancing the declining biodiversity in rural areas. In the years ahead, sustainability will be part of almost every management decision made on farms,” explained Raymond.
Philip Farrelly from the NRN said, “We are delighted to sponsor the Biodiversity Award for 2019. The award is to highlight the good work that farmers are already doing on their farms to help benefit biodiversity. Biodiversity is likely to feature heavily in the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), with new strategies to protect and improve the state of Europe's biodiversity”.
The National Rural Network is a membership network for farmers, agricultural advisors, rural communities and others interested in rural development. It provides up-to-date information, case studies, seminars and conferences to maximise the beneficial outcomes of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 for rural stakeholders. The NRN is focusing on specific themed areas including Biodiversity, Climate Change, EIP-AGRI, EU Life, LEADER and farm viability and competitiveness. You can join the NRN free of charge at www.nationalruralnetwork.ie.
The winner of the NRN Biodiversity Award will be chosen from the finalists of the FBD Young Farmer of the Year Award. You can nominate a young farmer for one of the categories or you can enter yourself by visiting www.macra.ie/yfy . The closing date for applications is Friday, 28 June 2019. The final will take place on Tuesday 3 September in Castleknock Hotel, Dublin. See www.macra.ie/yfy for more details.