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NFFN NI at FFLC: The challenges and opportunities of farming for climate action

What are we waiting for? Farming for Climate Action

Online – Wednesday 2 March, 10am-11.30am

With Northern Ireland agriculture contributing 27% of the country’s total GhG emissions through systems that are driving rampant biodiversity loss, we need urgent on-farm solutions.

Our session at this year’s Food, Farming & Land Convention will explore ways of tackling climate change through step changes across the farm landscape that actively contribute to a nature-rich, net-zero future. Our panel discussion will discuss farming’s positive role to play in tackling global warming and will debate the ways in which agriculture can deliver meaningful climate action. Our four panellists will also share the opportunities and challenges in pushing for change at a farm level through shared first-hand experiences.

  • Be inspired by farmers who are making positive changes for the climate
  • Take the opportunity to ask our panel your questions
  • Learn more about our step-change approach
  • Hear how farms can integrate multiple actions that proactively tackle climate change


Michael Meharg, NI Chair of NFFN

Michael farms a 250 ha suckler cow enterprise in county Antrim which includes conservation on a number of protected sites in NI. Passionate about the environment and rare breeds and with a background in ecology Michael facilitates work with farmers in the Lough Neagh area Environmental Farming Scheme focusing on delivering for priority habitats and breeding waders. Michael is interested in how the public and the market can better support nature-friendly farming produce across Northern Ireland.

William Frazer – Farmer & partner, Hillmount Farm

William is a new entrant farmer who has recently returned to Northern Ireland to bring back under management the 60ha family farm, which has been let under conacre for the past 30 years. His aim is to transition the farm towards a more regenerative set of enterprises; incorporating a more circular farming system, more trees, more diversity and more people. Previously, William has worked for 5 years as a farm adviser with the National Farmers Union in Gloucestershire, 4 years in the farming press at Farmers Weekly and started his career at Forum for the Future developing advice on farming and climate change for the Farming Futures project. He holds a Master’s degree in Geography from the University of Bristol and in 2014 completed a 15,000 mile cycling journey around the world.

Helen Keys, farmer & co-founder of Mallon Farm & SourceGrow

Helen farms alongside her husband, Charlie, in Northern Ireland and they are the first commercial producers of Irish grown linen in forty years. Helen is a co-founder of Source Grow, an online platform to help farmers decide what to grow to suit their soil and local market demand. She is also an Entrepreneur in Residence at Queen’s University Belfast and an Innovation Broker for the Water Innovation Network, working to create nature-based solutions to improve water quality. She will share her experience of nature-friendly farming and discuss her views on the marketplace and the role of supply chains in supporting the sector’s transition.

Stephen Alexander – farmer & Nature Friendly Farmer of the Year

Stephen runs a certified Pasture For Life Pedigree Dexter Herd, Ballyboley Dexters, Co. Down, N.Ireland. He produces and markets high-quality beef direct-to-consumers using nature-friendly, regenerative and innovative farming practices on both private and National Trust land. In 2021, he was a Blas na hEireann Finalist and  Farming Life’s Nature Friendly Farmer of the Year and Artisan Producer Of The Year.

David Sandford, panellist chair & arable farmer

David is an arable farmer & passionate about the environment. He was the Purdey Gold Award Winner 2016, Northern Ireland Wildlife Farmer of the Year 2015 & RFS Farm & Small Woodland Award joint winner 2021. David is also a committee member of the management body for the Strangford and Lecale AONB and advisory member for the Strangford Lough Marine Protected Area.