The 2021 National Agriculture Ambassador for Nature Awards took place last Saturday evening (23 October) as part of the annual Burren Winterage weekend.

Now in its fourth year, the annual awards have welcomed 23 new Farming for Nature (FFN) ambassadors and showcased seven outstanding examples of farmers doing valuable work for nature on their land.

Ambassadors operate beef, poultry, forestry and tillage systems and work with a range of valuable habitats including grasslands and heathlands, wetlands, forests and hedges.

FFN coordinator Brigid Barry said: “I think every farmer in Ireland will be able to relate to at least one of these farmers and admire what they have been able to achieve on their farms.

“We ordered a short film about each of these farms so that the audience could learn more about Farming for Nature and also choose their favorite story. We have had an outstanding response with thousands of video views and thousands of votes cast over the past few weeks. “

Awards

agriculture for nature
Farming for Nature mabassadors past and present

This year’s Public Choice Award winners are Michael and Norman Dunne Owenstown, County Kildare.

In recent years, the father-son duo have gradually moved from intensive tillage to a system of regenerative agriculture, operating under the principles of conservation agriculture.

FFN Founder and Volunteer Dr Brendan Dunford of the Burren Program said: “This year’s Farming for Nature Ambassadors are, like their predecessors, so engaging and inspiring.

“They provide a powerful and timely testimony to how agriculture and nature can and should work in harmony – and that simple actions can make a big difference.

“These farmers deserve our respect, gratitude and support; they embody all that is great about rural Ireland and they offer great hope in a time of climate and biodiversity crises, ”he added.

The awards of the national ambassadors of agriculture for nature is sponsored by Bord Bia and supported by a wide range of agricultural and conservation interests, including the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM), the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the National Rural Network.