An update from NFFN NI

Northern Ireland
Farming Champions
native breeds

It's been a busy month for us in Northern Ireland, from meeting ministers to talking at events and celebrating our Farming for Nature Ambassadors.

NFFN NI met with Andrew Muir, the new Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, to discuss both challenges and opportunities facing nature and farming in the country. At the meeting, we emphasised the wide-ranging benefits of nature friendly farming, from improved water quality to wildlife recovery.

We also addressed the potential for low-input systems to create more resilient farm businesses and sought to draw the minister’s attention to the importance of farming systems in areas with high nature value. Mr Muir was very receptive, voicing his appreciation for NFFN’s mission and keen to stay in close contact going forward.

NFFN NI Vice Chair Michael Meharg also spoke at the Ballynature event in Ballynure this month, hosted by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment. Michael spoke with an engaged audience about the history of native cattle breeds in Ireland.

He drew upon the millennia-old cattle farming tradition on the Island of Ireland to illustrate how cattle are woven into the landscape through place names and discussed how these ancient breeds can enhance biodiversity while producing high-quality food.

An eventful couple of weeks was capped off at the Northern Ireland Science Festival, where we celebrated some of our Farming for Nature Ambassadors. Hosted at the Boundary Brewery in East Belfast, this was a chance for farmers and the public to talk about nature-friendly farming practices and how they can benefit our environment and farm businesses alike.

Discussions included long-recovery mob grazing, organic farming, wildlife protection, and resource management, while our ambassadors spoke compellingly about their personal experience of nature-friendly farming.