Monthly newsletter of the National Rural Network - September 2016
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growing our future 

September 2016

Welcome to the seventh issue of the NRN's monthly newsletter. The goal of the National Rural Network (NRN) 2016-2020 is to inform the broader public and potential beneficiaries about rural development policy and funding opportunities. For more see
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National Rural Network Annual Conference 14th October Athlone 

'European Innovation Partnership For Agriculture – Linking people, ideas and practice

NRN Conference BannerThe first annual National Rural Network conference takes place on Friday 14th October (9am-1.30pm) in the Sheraton Athlone Hotel. The conference 'European Innovation Partnership for Agriculture – Linking people, ideas and practice' will explore the Irish approach to the European Innovation Partnerships under the Rural Development Programme. The conference will engage participants from the farming community, advisory services, research community, public servants, community groups and others in an informative event outlining the possibilities for all relevant stakeholders to foster competitive and sustainable farming practices, products and processes.

Delegates will receive an overview of the European Innovation Partnership - Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP-AGRI) from the European Commission perspective. They will then be briefed on the Irish EIP structure and application process. A separate briefing on the Locally Led Hen Harrier and Freshwater Pearl Mussel Projects will also feature. The full conference programme and registration details are available here

Cork 2.0: Declaration 2016 – A Better Life in Rural Areas 

European Conference on Rural Development

Flyer for Cork ConferenceTwenty years on from the 1996 Cork Declaration - A Living Countryside; the European Commissioner, Phil Hogan signed the Cork 2.0 Declaration 2016 – A Better Life in Rural Areas at the European Conference on Rural Development.  Over 300 European stakeholders attended the conference on the 5th and 6th September to consider and devise policy responses on contemporary and future issues around farming and rural development.  The conference concluded with the publication of ten policy orientations, which can are outlined fully here. Seamus Boland and Dr. Maura Farrell attended the Conference on behalf of the National Rural Network.    

Further details are available at: 


ACORNS - Accelerating the Creation of Nascent Rural Start-ups

Supporting early stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland 

Pictured from left to right: Catherine Cocollos (Celtic Escargot, Co. Galway), Ann Shields (Anneco Beauty, Co. Laois), Angela Mahon (Truzees, Co. Offaly), Anne Cusack (Lead Entrepreneur, ACORNS and MD of Critical Healthcare, Co. Westmeath), Clare Colohan (The Galway Food Company, Co. Galway), Diane Nevin (Health Evident, Co. Westmeath), Lisa Larkin (Durrow Mills, Co. Offaly), Helen Conneely (Mementooh, Co. Westmeath), Ann O’Reilly (The Sewing Boutique, Co. Longford).Following the success of the pilot, ACORNS is now seeking applications for a second funded programme aimed at providing early stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland with the knowledge, support and networking opportunities to advance the development of their businesses. The programme is focused on unleashing the potential of female entrepreneurs who have recently started a business or who have taken concrete steps towards doing so.
ACORNS are looking to select up to 56 start-up female entrepreneurs living in rural areas as defined by CEDRA – the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas. These are all areas of the country outside the administrative city boundaries of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.
There is no charge for successful participants, as ACORNS is fully funded under the CEDRA 2015 Rural Innovation and Development Fund through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Successful candidates will also have the costs associated with the residential elements of the programme covered. Minister Creed in launching  the second year of ACORNS described the initiative  as “a significant opportunity for new female entrepreneurs in rural areas”.
For more information about the programme, visit

Deadline for sowing Catch Crops extended

Two week extension

catch crops growing in a fieldThe Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has extended the sowing date for catch crops from 15th September to 30th September, due to the late harvest. In order to avail of this extension, farmers or advisors acting on his/her behalf should submit a completed application form by 16th September. 

Where the completed application form is not returned by the deadline, the original deadline of 15th September will remain. In the case of GLAS participants availing of the catch crop action, they must ensure that they continue to comply with the requirements set out in the GLAS specification provided to each GLAS participant which is available on the DAFM website. (Source: DAFM, 2016)

Almost 7500 applications received under TAMSII

TAMS II Payments

Across all schemes under the three tranches of TAMSII, there have been 7422 applications received. All applications received in a given tranche are examined and then ranked and selected before approvals issue. To date, 2220 approvals have been issued under tranche one and 1309 under tranche two. The process is underway for tranche three.

The TAMS II Payment Claim Facility has been available online for farmers since the 26th July.  TAMS II payments have commenced and will continue to issue on an ongoing basis in respect of valid payment claims received.
 For further information, visit

TAMS II Farm Safety training

Mandatory training under TAMS II

Farm safety signFarm Safety training is mandatory under the TAMS II scheme. It is a requirement of the scheme that all applicants must have completed, within the last five years prior to the date of application or the submission of their claim for payment, a half day Farm Safety Code of Practice training day.
The formal training can be given by Teagasc or other trained persons. If applicants have completed the FETAC level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture (Green Cert) in the past five years they will not need to take part in the training. Where an application is made under the Young Farmers Capital Investment Scheme by a Registered Farm Partnership or a Company the course must have been completed by the young farmer. In the case of an application from two eligible young farmers in a registered farm partnership, only one of the applicants needs to have completed the course.Claims for payments will not be processed until evidence of completion of Farm Safety training is provided to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. For more information, visit

The Burren Winterage School, October 27th – 29th 2016

Annual Burren Winterage Weekend Festival 

Farmer with cattleThe annual Burren Winterage Weekend festival, co-ordinated by the BurrenBeo Trust, will take place this year from October 27th - 30th in Kilfenora, Co. Clare. This unique celebration of pastoral farming and its rich legacy of natural and cultural heritage will feature the winterage cattle drove, food fayre, herdsman’s walks, farm demonstration events and much more. This year’s Burren Winterage School will focus on the theme of ‘Working with nature – a farmer-centred approach’.

This unique ‘School’, now in its fourth year, will feature a number of ‘stories from the land’ – case studies from farmers sharing the story of their farm and their place - as well as a range of speakers from across Europe with wide experience on themes relating to conservation and farming on Natura 2000 and other HNV farmland. The School will also offer a unique insight into the innovative approach to conservation farming taking place in the Burren including field trips to Burren farms and presentations from the scientists, authorities and NGOs involved.

Booking for the Burren Winterage School is essential and places are limited. A delegate fee of €50 will apply to cover costs for this non-profit event. For more information on how to book, please visit

Rural Renaissance Opportunities in the Horizon 2020 Programme

Network and Information Event

Horizon 2020 logoThe Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and InterTrade Ireland are hosting a network and information event in Dundalk on October 20th (10am-4pm) to support researchers and rural actors involved in rural development in the area of RURAL RENAISSANCE in Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 2. Calls in Rural Renaissance aim to boost economic development, environmental services and entrepreneurial innovation in rural and coastal areas. The 2017 calls open in October 2016 with an available budget of €62 million. Please see here for the particular calls that are open for 2017.

The event will be addressed by the chairman of the Societal Challenge 2 Advisory Group Richard Wakeford, as well as Miroslav Bozic from the Research and Innovation Unit DG Agriculture & Rural Development. This will be followed by presentations on successful rural renaissance projects and on approaches such as clustering that are required to bring together relevant rural actors to work successfully in research projects or innovation actions.  In the afternoon, there will be an interactive session to try to identify areas of research and innovation that need to be addressed in relation rural renaissance, the outcome of which will feed into the consultation process for the development of the Horizon 2020 societal challenge 2 work programme for the period 2018-20. 

The organisers are particularly reaching out to the relevant academic community to attend the event alongside the substantial number of relevant rural actors that have already registered. Please see the link here for registration to the above event.

Monitoring Committee for the Rural Development Programme

Second meeting of Monitoring Committee

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine convened the second meeting of the Monitoring Committee for the RDP 2014-2020 in Celbridge, Co. Kildare on Wednesday 7th September 2016. At the meeting, presentations were provided on the four proposed new measures to the RDP, the selection criteria of RDP measures and an update on the implementation of the current measures. Dr. Maura Farrell made a presentation on behalf of the National Rural Network highlighting actions to date and future plans.

Best Practice

Green Low Carbon- Agri Environment Scheme (GLAS)

Wild bird cover under GLASThe Green Low Carbon- Agri Environment Scheme (GLAS) which has funding of €1.4 billion under the Rural Development Programme seeks to address challenges in relation to water quality, biodiversity, and Green house gas emissions (GHG) . Foodwise 2025 enshrines the concept of sustainability and calls for increased output to be achieved while protecting and enhancing water quality, biodiversity and reducing GHG emissions. 

The five year GLAS scheme which opened in February 2015 is set to cater for 50,000 farmers. Thomas O’Halloran who farms 7.28 ha near Gort, Co. Galway, is typical of farmers who opted to join the GLAS scheme. "I heard about the GLAS scheme through the farming media and contacted GLAS Farm Planners. My GLAS advisor arranged an on farm consultation with me and conducted a farm walk and an assessment of my farm and worked closely with me to advise me and discuss suitable actions for my GLAS plan.

“My farming system is ideally suited to the scheme” says Thomas. “I can continue with my extensive grazing system buying in cattle and sheep for summer grazing while carrying out works which improve both my farm, my income and the environment”.

Thomas is particularly pleased with the wild bird cover initiative. The 1.87 ha plot was sown by a contractor using min till techniques in May 2016. A mixture of Oats and Linseed was sown and already Thomas has noticed as increase in insect and bird activity particularly pheasants. 

Forthcoming Events


Environment Ireland Conference 2016, 22 September
This conference takes place in Croke Park from 9am to 5pm. For more information and to register, visit
High-level Conference FOOD 2030 at the Square in Brussels, 12-13 October
The theme of the conference is Research And Innovation For Tomorrow's Nutrition And Food Systems. For further details, visit
NRN Annual Conference, 14 October
The first annual NRN conference on the theme of European Innovation Partnerships (EIP-Agri) takes place in the Sheraton Athlone Hotel on 14th October from 9-1.30pm. For the full programme and to register, visit

Rural Renaissance Opportunities in the Horizon 2020 Programme, 20 October
DAFM, DAERA NI and InterTrade Ireland network and information event takes place in the Crowne Plaza Dundalk from 10am to 4pm.
First Irish Planning for Climate Change Conference, Limerick, 27 October 2016
This conference series is the ideal forum in which to discuss and debate the issues that face communities and economies when it comes to planning and adapting to the problems faced by growing global climate change.  Further details at
Burren Winterage School, 27 - 29 October
This year’s Burren Winterage School takes place in Kilfenora, Co. Clare and will focus on the theme of ‘Working with nature – a farmer-centred approach.' For more information and to register, visit

North South LEADER Cooperation Conference, 8-9 November
The Rural Development Council for Northern Ireland and the Ireland National Rural Network are holding a joint conference on LEADER cooperation on Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th November in the Canal Court Hotel, Newry, Co. Down. Note: this conference is by invitation only.
Members of the NRN Team

Meet the NRN Team

The National Rural Network (NRN) Consortium Coordination Group (from left to right): Michael Kenny, Seamus Boland (Project Director), James Claffey, Billy Murphy, Deirdre Garvey, Philip Farrelly and Maria Pettit and (not pictured) Dr. Maura Farrell, Dr. Therese Conway, Johnny Sheehan, Maria O’Gorman and Freda Salley. For more information visit

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