April 2020 | Past Issues | Join the NRN

Welcome to the April 2020 issue of the National Rural Network's monthly newsletter focusing on issues related to the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020.

You can scroll down through the full newsletter or click on one of the six themes below to jump to that section. Each short news story contains a link to the full article.


Climate Change
Farm Viability & Competitiveness
Upcoming Events


COVID-19 Community Outreach (CCO) Initiative

The COVID-19 Community Outreach (CCO) Initiative is a national response to the societal impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and part of the Government Action Plan for Community Response to COVID-19. It aims to ensure that vulnerable people across Ireland have access to the highest-quality information about the services and supports in their areas during this pandemic.


NRN/AgriKids Colouring Competition

The National Rural Network in association with AgriKids are helping keep children safe during #StaySafe #Stayhome.

Click here to read about our colouring competition for 6 to 12 year olds. First place will receive a goodie bag and a €50 Dublin Zoo voucher.


Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environmental Scheme (GLAS): Updates

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has provided an update on Rare Breed Action and GLAS inspection in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.


EU LIFE Information and Networking Day

The European Commission is organising a Virtual Information Day on the 2020 LIFE call for project proposals. The event is open to potential applicants presenting project proposals on green technology, nature protection, and climate action.


Complete Our Buzzing Quiz Now!

Try out the short quiz available on our website to test your knowledge on our favourite pollinators: bees! All correct entries are entered into a draw for 2 x National Ploughing Championship 2020 Tickets (subject to event taking place).


Have You Heard of the Farmers' Wildlife Calendar?

Nature and its events are influenced by the change in seasons, and we want you to record what events are occurring in your locality. The National Biodiversity Data Centre is looking for your help to track the effects of weather and climate change on wildlife.


‘World Days’ Providing Opportunities for Biodiversity

‘World Days’ are providing an excellent opportunity for schools, communities, and governments to highlight the importance of biodiversity. ‘World Day’ events focus on ‘target’ species or habitats of national and international importance and educate the general public of the importance in conserving and maintaining the habitat or species.



Farm to Fork Strategy for Sustainable Food

The European Green Deal is a new growth strategy for Europe. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen outlined that “Our goal is to reconcile the economy with our planet and to make it work for our people,” she added, describing climate policy as Europe’s new growth strategy.


Online Webinar Series – ‘Pointing the Way to a Low-Emissions Agriculture’

Over the month of April, the National Rural Network, in association with Teagasc, ConnectED, Dairy Sustainability Ireland and Food and Drink Ireland Skillnet, held a series of online webinars to help pinpoint the way to low-emissions agriculture.


TAMS II Updates

Please be advised of the following amendments to the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS II) in response to COVID-19.


LEADER Programme 2014-2020 Update

Activity in the LEADER programme has continued to increase as we delve into 2020.

As of the end of March 2020, there are 2,978 projects approved for LEADER funding across Ireland.


Updated LEADER Programme Infographics

The NRN team at NUIG and IRL have produced a new infographic featuring 24 project examples located throughout the country funded under the Rural Environment Theme of the LEADER Programme 2014-2020.


LEADER-Funded Meath River Rescue Featured in Changing Ireland

A LEADER-funded project with the Meath River Rescue Service has been featured in the most recent issue of the Changing Ireland Magazine.

The Meath River Rescue Service provides a very important voluntary service within their community of Navan. 


LEADER Project Case Study Booklet Update

The National Rural Network are stepping up our efforts to highlight and promote the beneficial outcomes of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014- 2020 by designing and producing a LEADER Project Case Study booklet on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD).


ENRD Smart Villages Thematic Group

The 11th European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) Thematic Group meeting on Smart Villages took place on April 1st, 2020 in the form of a webinar.


‘Smart Rural Project’ – Expression of Interest

The new ‘Smart Rural Project’, coordinated by E40 Group and supported by the European Commission (DG AGRI), aims to promote and inspire villages to develop and implement smart village approaches and strategies across Europe, as well as to draw conclusions and support future CAP interventions on smart villages.


Pearl Mussel Project Go Digital and Release their First Newsletter

In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the Pearl Mussel Project EIP-AGRI Operational Group has gone digital, using Zoom to hold meetings with farmers participating in the project. This form of communication is being used to ensure that safe social distancing protocols are met and acts as a way to maintain contact with the different project stakeholders.

Read more... 

Duncannon EIP-AGRI Project Video

A Teagasc Ag Catchments video about the innovative practices and progress of the Duncannon Blue Flag Farming and Communities Scheme EIP-AGRI Operational Group Project has been added to the EIP-AGRI Video Gallery on the NRN website.

Read more... 

French Masters Students learn about Irish EIP-AGRI Projects

A group of students from the University of Paris Seine and the University of Cergy-Pontoise in France who are studying a Master's degree in European and International Studies visited NUI Galway on February 28th, 2020 to listen to Dr Maura Farrell and Dr Shane Conway present the aims, objectives, practices and progress of Ireland’s 23 locally-led EIP-AGRI Operational Group projects.

Read more... 

COVID-19 Helpline Launched for Farmers by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Minister Michael Creed T.D., of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has launched an information helpline specifically to support farmers dealing with operations and potential challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Maintaining Farmer Health & Wellbeing during COVID-19

Farmers, and other agri-food industry stakeholders including farm labourers and farm relief service workers among others, have been deemed as essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis. With this in mind, Teagasc have recorded a podcast with Farm Health and Safety Specialist John McNamara, as part of their Dairy Edge series.

NOTICE: Details of many events are changing rapidly due to COVID-19, and most are now taking place as online meetings / webinars. We cannot guarantee that any future in-person events will be taking place, and encourage you to check directly with organisers regularly for updates.
WEBINAR: The Sign Post Series, Greenhouse Gas Training for Irish Agri-Professionals. 1–29 May 2020.
Sustainability is key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Irish agriculture. These events are designed to help agri-professionals communicate the best evidence-based advice and guidance to their clients. Visit the link below for full details of individual events.

WEBINAR: Rural Development, Nature and Tourism: Impact of COVID-19 & New Approaches. European Network of Living Labs, 30 June 2020.
ENoLL aims to prepare our cities and communities now for the new societal changes that will take place in Europe and the world. The Webinar Series gathers the Community of Living Labs and stakeholders around actual proposed solutions.

Save the Date! Beef 2020 – Building a Sustainable Beef Sector. Teagasc Grange, Co. Meath C15 PW93 7 July 2020.
The focus of BEEF2020 will be on the application of technologies that will help beef farmers increase the profitability and environmental sustainability of their farming family business.
WEBINAR: Breakfast Bites: Food Safety, Back to Basics. 12 May 2020. 
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) presents ‘Breakfast Bites’, a series of free, informal events for small food businesses. The first of these FREE events will be held online and will last 40 minutes. Helen Crowley (FSAI) will give an overview of the basic hygiene requirements your business must have in place to ensure that the food you buy, produce, serve, store and transport is safe.

Save the Date! ENRD Seminar on Climate Action and the Rural Inspiration Awards 2020 Ceremony, Brussels, Belgium. 25 June 2020.
More information to follow.

Energy in Agriculture 2020. Roscrea, Co. Tipperary. 15 July 2020.
This event gives farmers the opportunity to explore the latest renewable energy opportunities to use clean technology, drive efficiency and manage business costs in Irish agriculture.

International Symposium on Climate-Resilient Agri-Environmental Systems. Stillorgan, County Dublin. 3-6 November 2020.
The International Symposium on Climate-Resilient Agri-Environmental Systems is themed as Contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs) through the Development of Climate-Resilient Agri-Environmental Systems.
The National Rural Network (NRN) Consortium Coordination Group is Seamus Boland, Maria Pettit, James Claffey, Tony Ward, Deirdre Garvey, Aoife Smith, Freda Salley, Johnny Sheehan, Gert Ackermann, Paul Meade, Dr Maura Farrell, Philip Farrelly, Dr Shane Conway, Dr Teresa Hooks and Dr Emily Bourke. For more information, visit
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