Ireland’s native fauna and flora are under threat, and sustainable farming methods are essential to protect, enhance, and halt the decline of biodiversity in Ireland. Agricultural activities have shaped Ireland’s landscape and its associated biodiversity, and our rural landscapes are characterised by the diverse habitats associated with farmlands, namely hedgerows, stone walls, ponds, streams, native woodlands, bogs, and species-rich pastures. However, despite our varied habitats, some of our most important plant and animal species are under threat.

Agriculture relies on biodiversity in many ways: bees pollinate crops, earthworms build soil fertility, bacteria and soil biota breakdown nutrients, and birds and insects keep plant pests and diseases in check. It is essential to acknowledge that farmers are taking action at farm-level to protect and conserve habitats and wildlife on farms as well as farming more efficiently.

Raymond Langan (pictured centre below), a sheep farmer from Co. Mayo, won the inaugural National Rural Network Biodiversity Farmer of the Year Award in 2018.

Image Source: NRN

Alan Doyle (second from right below), a drystock farmer from Co. Kilkenny, won the award in 2019.

Image Source: NRN

Biodiversity is threatened by climate change, pollution, development, and habitat loss. Farmers play an essential part in protecting the environment and its biodiversity by farming sustainably; sustainability will soon be a key driver for every management decision made on farms.

The National Rural Network Biodiversity Farmer of the Year Award hopes to draw attention to this complex issue by celebrating farmers who are farming sustainably by protecting and enhancing biodiversity on their farms. The award is presented by the National Rural Network (NRN), and it is part of the FBD Young Farmer of the Year competition.

The shortlist for the National Rural Network Biodiversity Farmer of the Year Award will be selected from the entries for the FBD Young Farmer of the Year competition, and the winner will be revealed at the awards ceremony scheduled for November.

How to Enter:

FBD Young Farmer of the Year 2020 Competition

Eligibility Criteria:

To enter the competition, farmers must be:

  • Under 35 years on January 1, 2020, and a member of Macra na Feirme or the IFA.
  • Applicants are asked to sign up to the National Rural Network; it is free.
  • Involved in the running of the farm on which they currently work for at least three years, either full or part-time.
  • The applicant should hold an agricultural qualification.

Apply directly or nominate somebody for this competition.

Application forms:

Competition Categories:

  1. Drystock
    • Beef and Sheep Farmers
  1. Dairy
  2. Land Mobility
    • Collaborative arrangements, shared milking, contract rearing, or farm manager.
  1. Other Enterprises
    • Tillage, pigs, poultry, etc.

Additional Awards:

  1. Emerging Young Farmer – A farmer under 23 years of age.
  2. Most Climate Change Conscious Young Farmer
  3. The National Rural Network Biodiversity Award
  4. Best Farm Manager

**These awards will be selected from semi-finalist and will be announced at the final**

Prizes:

  • Overall winner €3,000 travel bursary.
  • Category winners (Drystock, Dairy, Land Mobility, and ‘Other’ enterprise) €500 each.

For more information go to https://www.macra.ie/competitiondetailsYFY