The National Rural Network (NRN) has begun its annual search for Ireland’s Biodiversity Farmer of the Year. The award, which is part of the FBD Young Farmer of the Year competition, aims to draw attention to the importance of biodiversity, by celebrating farmers who are farming in a sustainable manner by protecting and enhancing biodiversity on their farms.

Commenting on the launch of this year’s awards, Seamus Boland, Project Director of the NRN said, “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. 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.”

Raymond Langan, a sheep farmer from Co. Mayo, won the inaugural National Rural Network Biodiversity Farmer of the Year Award in 2018, and Alan Doyle, a drystock farmer from Co. Kilkenny, won the award last year.

A shortlist will be drawn up from the entries for Macra’s na Feirme’s FBD Young Farmer of the Year competition, and the winner will be announced at Macra’s awards ceremony in November.

Entries for Macra’s na Feirme’s FBD Young Farmer of the Year competition is now open at www.macra.ie.

For more information on biodiversity in agriculture, visit the NRN’s biodiversity hub here.