Monthly Members' Newsletter of the National Rural Network - March 2017
View this email in your browser

Connecting Communities

growing our future 

March 2017

Welcome to the twelfth issue of the NRN's monthly newsletter and the second for 2017. This is the newsletter for members of the NRN. 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
Connect with the National Rural Network
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Connect on LinkedIn
Visit our website

Expand Your Horizon Seminars Continue to Attract Strong Interest

Rural Information and Networking


Participants at Co. Wicklow Expand Your Horizons seminar in AughrimThe joint Expand Your Horizon seminars between the National Rural Network (NRN) and Teagasc have continued to attract strong interest among farmers and other rural stakeholders, with 16 more seminars around the country in the last month.

The central focus of these events is the provision of information for people living in rural areas who wish to explore new possibilities for improved economic and social development for their own lives and for the betterment of their community. The local LEADER Implementing Partners in all areas presented their Local Development Strategy, providing attendees with a greater understanding of the funding opportunities available in their area and how to apply. Both the NRN and Teagasc believe the Expand Your Horizon seminars will facilitate a great number of LEADER applications from the farming community and look forward to seeing the projects develop over the lifetime of the programme. 

These seminars brought together rural based organisations allowing them to share information and networking not only with rural dwellers but among each other, providing great efficiency. The NRN would like to extent its appreciation to all the agencies that attended the Expand Your Horizon seminars and made them a success. 

For more information, visit

Source: NRN

2017 ACA Annual Conference

Agricultural Consultants Association


Minister of State Andrew Doyle with Freda Salley of the NRNMinister for State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture Andrew Doyle opened the Agricultural Consultants Association Annual Conference on Wednesday 8th March.

Laura Johnson President of the ACA outlined to Mr. Doyle that the ACA is an organisation which represents over 150 professional independent Agricultural Consultants. ACA consultants advise in excess of 50,000 farmers.  The event is the largest and most important networking opportunity for ACA members. Presentations were given on a range of topical issues for consultants which included presentations from the National Rural Network, from DAFM on EIP-Agri, opportunities for Agricultural Consultants, an update on the 2017 Basic Payment Scheme, an update on Nitrates and Cross Compliance and from Bord Bia on the Sustainable Beef and Lamb Scheme. (Featured in the photo are Andrew Doyle, Minister for State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, and Freda Salley from the NRN).

To learn more about the ACA, visit

Source: NRN

EIP-AGRI Focus Group on Benchmarking

Supporting Farmers to Improve Productivity and Sustainability


Man in field promoting agricultural sustainabilityA final report was published in January 2017 on the EIP-AGRI Focus Group on Benchmarking, which brought together 20 experts from 14 EU Member States and a diverse range of backgrounds.  The group explored the potential for farmers and advisers to use farm benchmarking data and process to improve productivity and sustainability performance in agriculture.  

Benchmarking according to the original report abstract ‘can support farmers to improve their productivity and sustainability performance. At its simplest, benchmarking is defined as improving the performance, of a farm, for example, by comparing with peers, learning from others and identifying actions. Valuable lessons can be drawn from benchmarking by raising the subsequent questions: why are others better?, how are others better?, what can be learnt?, and how can the farm catch up?’. The main conclusions of the report can be found in the following link:

Benchmarking in Ireland: Inspirational Ideas from Teagasc

Teagasc were recently featured in the March EIP-AGRI Newsletter and Website as having developed an online benchmarking tool to help Irish farmers identify the areas which need improvement on their farm. Dairy, cattle, sheep, tillage and pig enterprises can use the “eProfit Monitor” to analyse key financial and physical data from their farm and compare this to results from other farms.  The Teagasc e-Profit monitor is now available to all private consultants as well as Teagasc advisers, clients and students through ConnectED.  To read the full report on the Teagasc eProfit Monitor log onto   

Source: EIP-Agri Service Point and NRN

Extending LEADER Innovation Workshop Brussels

European Networking


Participants at Extending LEADER Cooperation Conference in BrusselsGabriel O'Connell, CEO of Monaghan Integrated Development CLG recently attended the European Network for Rural Development workshop, Extending LEADER Cooperation, on 22nd February in Brussels.

Following the event, Gabriel highlighted the opening discussion from ENRD Contact Point; John Grieve, who opened the discussions and set the scene by outlining LEADER Innovation in action and the history and current scope of LEADER innovation across Europe. 

Additionally, Professor Bill Slee, The James Hutton Institute, highlighted the concept of Rural Innovation and the importance of stronger rural innovation, suggesting that “Innovation matters to economic growth…but a wider framing of innovation is needed to include social and institutional aspects”.

The Local Action Group from Tagus, Spain, highlighted the inherent difficulties for innovation to root in rural territories and outlined some innovative approaches they have used to address this issue. 

Inge Van Oost, from DG AGRI, focused on the role and opportunities of ‘European Innovation Partnerships’ (EIP) and the importance of “connecting the different worlds of rural innovation”. Inge defined Innovation as "Ideas put into practice with success and may involve new, improved or successfully applied products, processes or services”. 

As a conclusion, Gabriel suggested to the NRN team that all LAGs charged with the implementation of LEADER in Ireland should take comfort from the fact that the current range of integrated rural development approaches being delivered are innovative from a European perspective, extending beyond LEADER, while embracing the LEADER method.

Read Gabriel’s full account of the event and his insights into LEADER and Innovation in the full article:

Source: Gabriel O'Connell

Consultation on Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme Launched

Environment and Biodiversity Challenges 


Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine logoPublic consultation in relation to the review of Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme was launched on the 2nd March 2017. The Nitrates Action Programme aims to protect water quality from pollution by agricultural sources and to promote the use of good farming practice.

All EU Member States are required to prepare National Nitrates Action Programmes (NAP) that outline the rules for the management and application of livestock manures and other fertilisers. The current Nitrates Action Programme must be reviewed this year 2017, and a new Nitrates Action Programme must be in place by 2018 and will run until 2021. 

The purpose of the consultation paper is to provide some background and to invite interested parties to make submissions. The closing date for receipt of responses is 28th April 2017.  Read the consultation paper and have your say.

Source: DAFM

New Specialised Tillage Measure Open for Applications



Tractor ploughing soilMinister Creed has announced the launch of the new specialised Tillage Measure under TAMS II. TAMS schemes were launched under the new Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and are co-funded under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The tillage measure brings to seven the measures now included in TAMS II. The allocation of funding for the Tillage measure is €26 million over the course of the programme. The other six measures are:

  • Young Farmers Capital Investment Scheme €114m
    Dairy Equipment Scheme €50m
    Organic Capital Investment Scheme €8m
    Animal Welfare, Safety and Nutrient Storage Scheme €170m
    Low Emission Slurry Spreading €104m
    Pig and Poultry Investment Scheme €17m.

The scheme is open to farmers who have a Department identifier and have a minimum of 15ha of eligible crops declared under the Basic Payment scheme, or equivalent in the year of application or previous year. The specific areas of investment include Minimum Disturbance Tillage Equipment, Sprayers, Rain Water Harvesting, Grain Storage and Grain dryers.

The Scheme came into operation on 8th March 2017. The closing date for applications under the first tranche of the new measure will be Friday 30th June. The scheme will be closed for receipt of applications on 31st December 2020. All applications must be made on-line, either by the farmer or by their authorised Advisor.

For further information see

Source: DAFM

Upcoming Targeted Funding Calls under the LEADER

LEADER Programme 2014-2020 

Area Funder Description Closing Date Contact
Mayo Islands Comhar na nOilean CTR A funding call to support the regeneration of Rural Towns in County Mayo. 31st March 2017 099 750 96 or
Limerick West Limerick Resources A funding call for Tourism Accommodation 7th April 2017 06962222 or
Dublin Dublin Rural LEADER Training animation and capacity building to strengthen the tourism industry and economy in the Dublin rural region 5th April 2017 01 807 4282 or
Dublin Dublin Rural LEADER Development and support of Dublin Rural unique tourism experience through strategic planning/ clustering and destination development and marketing to capitalise on Failte Ireland’s – Dublin, a breath of fresh air. 5th April 2017 01 807 4282 or
Dublin Dublin Rural LEADER Provision of enterprise Training and Capacity Building support for under-represented individuals and groups. 5th April 2017 01 807 4282 or
Mayo South West Mayo Development Company A funding call for Rural Towns that support the enhancement of rural towns and contribute to making them a more attractive place to live, recreate and do business. 31st March 2017 09841950 or
Longford Longford Community Resources To financially support the establishment and growth of Social Enterprises that have job creation potential 3rd April 2017 043-3345555 or
Leitrim Leitrim Development Company Development of Enterprises: Capital & Asset Investment for Businesses 13th April 2017 071 9641770 or
Leitrim Leitrim Development Company Town & Village Enhancement Projects 13th April 2017 071 9641770 or
Leitrim Leitrim Development Company Town & Village Enhancement Projects: Access to Public Spaces & Community Facilities 13th April 2017 071 9641770 or

Midlands Amenity Park a Credit to the Local Community

LEADER Good Practice


Midlands Amenity Park MoateThe Midlands Amenity Park in Moate was born out of an opportunity to create a public amenity on the site of a former “Cow Park” owned by Westmeath County Council. The local authority had expressed the view that they would be willing to lease the site to the community if a suitable project could be developed. 

Initially the community group received funding for feasibility studies; however, once feasibility was determined the Midland Amenity Park Association approached LEADER once again for the capital aspect of the developing the Park. Grant aid in the amount of €474,000 was awarded in 2012 with the Park being completed a year later. The committee’s ambition was to create an amenity for the people of Moate and surrounding areas that would add to the recreational, environmental, educational and tourism value of the local area. It was opened to the public in Sept 2013. The Amenity Park at Dún na Sí is a newly created community park for all, encompassing ecology, arts, education and play.

The facility includes: 

  • Native wildlife species
  • A specially constructed ‘hide’ allows you to observe the many species of wild birds on the small lake or ‘turlough’ without disturbing their habitat
  • The ‘Art in the Park‘ project promotes imaginative creations which emerge from the parkland. These are made from recycled and natural materials by students from local schools who work with artists to enhance the visitor’s experience of the park
  • A fully equipped children’s playground 

The decision by the community to undertake the project at the time of the economic downturn shows a great sense of community spirit and volunteerism where people were willing to devote both human and financial resources to making the Park a reality. Midland Amenity Park is therefore a fantastic example of a community working together for the social and economic benefit of their area. Through harnessing local energy and resources with the advice and assistance from LEADER in Moate, County Westmeath and indeed the Midlands, now has a wonderful amenity for all to enjoy.

Link to website: 

Source: LEADER

Forthcoming Events

Farming for Biodiversity. 30 March, Brussels.
This European Commission conference will discuss the potential of the results-based approach for the delivery of biodiversity benefits in agriculture and how that potential could be better utilised, particularly in the context of post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy debate. For more information, visit

Teagasc Agri-Environment Conference. 6 April, Tullamore Court Hotel, Tullamore.
The Agri-environmental conference focuses on highlighting key developments in research, policy and knowledge transfer which will drive improved environmental outcomes. For more information and to book, visit
Members of the NRN Team
The National Rural Network (NRN) Consortium Coordination Group: (front row) Seamus Boland, Maria Pettit, James Claffey; (second row) Tony Ward, Deirdre Garvey, Dr. Therese Conway, Freda Salley; (third row) Johnny Sheehan, Gert Ackermann, Maria O'Gorman, Dr. Maura Farrell; (back row) Philip Farrelly, Billy Murphy. For more information, visit

consortium memberlogos

supported by logos
Copyright © 2017 NRN, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list


This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
NRN · Moate Business Park · Clara Road · Moate, Co Westmeath N37 W9R0 · Ireland

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp