Ireland’s landscape and its associated biodiversity have been shaped by agricultural activities, 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 diverse habitats some of our most important plant and animal species are under threat. Sustainable farming methods are essential to protect, enhance and halt the decline of biodiversity in Ireland.

See How to Enter details below…

Sustainability is quickly becoming a key driver for every management decision made on farms.  Biodiversity is threatened by habitat loss, climate change and pollution. Agriculture can be a significant pressure on Biodiversity.

The National Rural Network Biodiversity Farmer of the Year Award hopes to draw attention to this complex issue, by celebrating farmers who are farming in a sustainable manner 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.

Previous National Rural Network Biodiversity Farmer of the Year Award Winners:

Raymond Langan

Above: Raymond Langan, a sheep farmer from Co. Mayo, won the inaugural National Rural Network Biodiversity Farmer of the Year Award in 2018

Alan Doyle

Above: Alan Doyle, a drystock farmer from Co. Kilkenny, won the National Rural Network Biodiversity Farmer of the Year Award in 2019


Joe Melody

Above: Joe Melody, a dairy farmer from Co. Clare, won the National Rural Network Biodiversity Farmer of the Year Award in 2020

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 important 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.

The shortlist for the National Rural Network Biodiversity Farmer of the Year Award will be selected from the entries to the 2021 FBD Young Farmer of the Year competition.

The 2021 National Rural Network Biodiversity Young Farmer of the Year winner will be announced at the awards ceremony scheduled for December, 2021.

How to Enter

Nominations and Applications for The FBD Young Farmer of the Year Awards are now open.

To apply, click here. Applications close 26 November 2021.

To nominate a young farmer, click here. Nominations close 22 November 2021.

The FBD Young Farmer of the Year Awards in association with Macra na Feirme, are sponsored annually by FBD and run by Macra na Feirme with partnerships with the IFA and the National Rural Network. The competition was launched in 1999 and has been successful in raising the profile of young farmers within their community by recognising their achievements and contribution to farming.

Competition Categories:

  1. Drystock – Beef and Sheep Farming
  2. Dairying
  3. Optimising Land Mobility – Collaborative arrangements, shared milking, contract rearing etc
  4. Other Enterprises- Tillage, pigs, poultry, forestry, equine etc.
  5. Career Farm Manager

Additional Awards

  1. Best Young Entrant Award – A farmer who is under 23 years of age.
  2. The National Rural Network Biodiversity Award (sponsored by NRN)


In an exciting development, this year the overall prize fund is increasing substantially with an increased overall pot of cash prizes and the addition of insurance and hotel vouchers for category winners. The overall winner of the 2021 FBD Young Farmer of the Year will receive €5000 with each category winner and the Emerging Young Farmer taking home €1000. Each winner will also receive vouchers from the FBD Hotel Group and FBD Insurance.

Important Dates

Below are critical dates to any young farmer entering the competition:

  • Monday, November 22th Close of Nominations
  • Friday, November 26th – Applications close
  • Saturday, November 27th – Applications shortlisted to complete video
  • Thursday 2nd December – Video interviews to be completed by shortlisted applications
  • 13th & 14th December – Semi-final interviews
  • 14th December – Final 6 interviews & Black-Tie Awards Night

Eligibility Criteria

To enter the competition, farmers must be:

  • Under 35 years in January 1, 2021 and a member of Macra na Feirme or the IFA.
  • Involved in the running of the farm on which they currently work on for at least three years, either full or part-time.
  • The applicant should hold an agricultural qualification.


Candidates are judged under the following criteria:

  • Farm business initiative and innovation (20 Marks).
  • Knowledge of production costs and returns (20 Marks).
  • Vision and planning for the future farm business (15 Marks).
  • General agricultural, environmental protection and sustainability knowledge (10 Marks).
  • Involvement in agri sector and the community (10 Marks).
  • Personal development initiatives (10 Marks).
  • Farm safety (15 Marks).