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Monthly Members' Newsletter of the National Rural Network - October 2016
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Connecting Communities
 

growing our future 

November 2016

Welcome to the ninth issue of the NRN's monthly newsletter. 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 www.nationalruralnetwork.ie
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North South LEADER Cooperation Launched in Newry

Joint Northern Ireland and Ireland Rural Network Conference 

Members of the Managing Authorities for LEADER with representatives of Ireland and Northern Ireland Rural Networks at LEADER Cooperation North and South Conference.More than 100 representatives of Local Action Groups (LAGs) and implementing partners gathered in Newry, Co. Down on Tuesday 8th and Friday 9th November for a joint conference exploring the theme of LEADER Co-operation within the context of their current Rural Development Programmes. Pictured at the conference were (left to right): Seamus Boland, Paul Donnelly (Managing Authority Northern Ireland), Catherine McCallum (DAERA), JP Mulherin (Managing Authority Ireland), Tony McCusker, Cllr. Gillian Fitzpatrick, Dr. Maura Farrell and Teresa Canavan.

The conference, organised by the Ireland National Rural Network and the Rural Network for Northern Ireland, launched co-operation between Local Action Groups in Northern Ireland and the Republic. A national allocation of €10m is ring-fenced for LEADER cooperation projects in the South while £4m has been allocated for Northern Ireland.

Facilitated workshops at the conference allowed participants to establish connections and partnerships to develop projects while expanding on potential co-operation ideas. The workshops were set around the themes of Enterprise and Employability, Landscape, Heritage and Natural Resources, Social Inclusion & Services and Rural Tourism. 

A full conference report will be available on the both National Support Units’ websites in late November - www.nationalruralnetwork.ie and www.ruralnetworkni.org.uk.  

Burren Locally-led Initiative Shows the Way

Burren Programme

Participants in Burren Winterage SchoolThe Burren locally-led community based initiative to foster better farming practices, leading to better outcomes for biodiversity and climate change, has received much deserved praise from the EPA. The recent Burren Winterage Festival was a great example of, and showcased, how a locally-led, community based, bottom-up approach can be harnessed to achieve desired results. 

The Burren Programme is a locally led agri-environmental programme under the leadership of Dr. Brendan  Dunford which aims to conserve and support the heritage, environment and communities of the Burren. The Burren locally-led scheme was designed for the purpose of protecting and enhancing Biodiversity and water quality, using the best expertise but crucially, this was with agreement and input from the local community, including farmers. The scheme is funded under the RDP by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Sunday October 30th was a bright sunny day when hundreds of locals (and some not so local), gathered at the edge of the Burren, where farmers assembled their cattle in preparation for the annual walk to the uplands.  It was a true community celebration with music, tea and prayers. This was mixed in with the serious conservation and animal husbandry business, of moving the cattle to their winter home on the uplands of the Burren, in keeping with age old tradition. 

The objectives of the Burren Programme are to:

  • ensure the sustainable agricultural management of high nature value farmland in the Burren
  • contribute to the positive management of the Burren’s landscape and cultural heritage
  • contribute to improvements in water quality and water usage efficiency in the Burren region

For more information about the recent Burren Winterage Festival, visit www.burrenwinterage.com

Carbon Navigator Deadline Approaching

Beef Data and Genomic Programme

Beef cattle in fieldFarmers have until 30th November to have the carbon navigators for the Beef Data and Genomic Programme (BDGP) completed after the deadline was recently extended by Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Michael Creed.

The requirement to complete a beef carbon navigator comprises a key additional 2016 compliance requirement for all BDGP farmers. Non completion of the carbon navigator by the deadline of 30 November will result in penalties. If the carbon navigator is completed within six months of the deadline, i.e. by 30 April 2017, a 50% penalty will apply in respect of the carbon navigator element of the overall payment in respect of years one and two. Failure to complete the carbon navigator by 30 April 2017 will result in removal from the BDGP and clawback of any payments already made.

The Carbon Navigator must be completed in conjunction with a farm adviser. Farmers are encouraged to contact their advisers as soon as possible to begin the process. For more information, see http://bit.ly/2fih4Bw. (Source: DAFM)

NRN Advisory Sub-committees Up and Running  

Biodiversity, Environmental Challenges, LIFE Programmes and Climate Change

Members of Biodiversity, Environmental Challenges LIFE Programmes advisory sub-committeesThe NRN held its first sub-committee meetings on Biodiversity, Environmental Challenges LIFE Programmes and Climate Change on the 25th October. The sub-committees brought key personnel together with expertise in Biodiversity and LIFE Programmes and Climate Change from Government Departments, Researchers, Farming Organisations, Environmental groups and Farm Advisors. 

The first meeting of both the Biodiversity/LIFE and the Climate Change sub-committees were extremely productive. The interplay of informative views and opinion from the various experts and sectors informed a really lively and focused discussion about improvements in both biodiversity and Climate Change. A key emerging theme from both sub-committees was the development of suitable communication methodologies to convey a plain message to both farmers, advisors and the wider public.

The Advisory Sub-committees highlighted the need for the NRN to produce information leaflets and publications in non-technical language which will promote and encourage engagement from the target audience, address existing knowledge gaps and help to improve the information base of the public in relation to Climate Change and Biodiversity.  The sub-committee will have a role in providing advice, guidance, and assessing the content of the NRN leaflets and publications.

For more information, contact Philip Farrelly (philip@pfarrelly.com).

Tranche 3 of GLAS Opens

GLAS Reopens

 

Sheep in field Tranche 3 of GLAS is now open and will remain open for six weeks with a closing date of 15 December 2016. The five year GLAS scheme which opened in February 2015 is set to cater for at least 50,000 farmers.  A total of 38,000 participants have been approved into the GLAS scheme through Tranches 1 & 2. Tranche 3 can cater for at least an additional 12,000 participants. GLAS 3 is the final tranche proposed and this means that this tranche is the last opportunity for farmers to join the GLAS scheme. 

The main changes between GLAS tranche 2 and GLAS tranche 3 are the addition of two actions to the bird measures (twite bird protection). Under farmland birds there is an action called nesting and foraging option for breeding twite. The aim of this option is to maintain nesting and foraging habitats for twite during breeding and winter season. The maximum payments for GLAS tranche 3 remains the same at €5,000, and €7,000 for GLAS plus. For more information, see http://bit.ly/25yrpxa. (Source: DAFM)

High Nature Value-Link Project 

First Newsletter Published

 

Visit by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to BurrenThe first newsletter from the 13 strong partner network, HNV-Link: 'High Nature Value Farming: Innovation and Knowledge' can be found in the following attachment and provides an excellent overview of the work being carried out by the project team.  Featured in the newsletter is the visit from Commissioner Phil Hogan to the Burren Learning Area where he was briefed on the evolution of the locally led and results-based agri-environmental programme. Download the newsletter here.
 

New EIP Schemes for Hen Harrier and Freshwater Pearl Mussel areas 

European Innovation Partnerships for Agricultural Sustainability

 

Freshwater Pearl Mussel Co. KerryA Request for Tenders for the administration of two EIP Locally Led Schemes for the conservation of the Hen Harrier and the Freshwater Pearl Mussel has now been published on eTenders by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.  The deadline for receipt of tenders is Noon on the 3rd January 2017 and all submissions must be made using the TED website.
For more information, see http://bit.ly/2gi59VL.

 

Upcoming Call for Operational Groups to Apply for EIP Agri Projects

European Innovation Partnerships for Agriculture

EIP AGRI LogoIn last month’s National Rural Network’s newsletter, we provided an overview of the launch of the European Innovation Partnerships initiative (EIP) under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020 at our annual conference in Athlone on the 14th October.  Later this month the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine will issue a call for operational groups to submit applications for EIP projects that will contribute to Rural Development Priorities.  

The key focus of the operational groups and the ultimate aim of EIPs is innovation and in particular innovation that will enhance farm viability and competitiveness; promote food chain organisation; restore, preserve and enhance ecosystems relating to agriculture and forestry and promote resource efficiency with an emphasis on a shift towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy in agriculture, food and forestry.  

In total, there is €59 million in funding available for EIP projects which will see farmers, scientists, advisors, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders coming together to implement innovative projects managed by a local operational group.  If you wish to explore further the possibility of submitting an application for an EIP project, further information can be found at http://bit.ly/2eXydPn.   

Additionally, for further information on project ideas and cooperation groups, check out the European Commission EIP-AGRI website and promotional video: http://bit.ly/2fRmL9c and http://bit.ly/2eXxde1.    

Upcoming Call for Operational Groups to Apply for EIP Agri Projects

European Innovation Partnerships for Agriculture

EIP AGRI LogoIn last month’s National Rural Network’s newsletter, we provided an overview of the launch of the European Innovation Partnerships initiative (EIP) under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020 at our annual conference in Athlone on the 14th October.  Later this month the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine will issue a call for operational groups to submit applications for EIP projects that will contribute to Rural Development Priorities.  

The key focus of the operational groups and the ultimate aim of EIPs is innovation and in particular innovation that will enhance farm viability and competitiveness; promote food chain organisation; restore, preserve and enhance ecosystems relating to agriculture and forestry and promote resource efficiency with an emphasis on a shift towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy in agriculture, food and forestry.  

In total, there is €59 million in funding available for EIP projects which will see farmers, scientists, advisers, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders coming together to implement innovative projects managed by a local operational group.  If you wish to explore further the possibility of submitting an application for an EIP project, further information can be found at http://bit.ly/2eXydPn.   

Additionally, for further information on project ideas and cooperation groups, check out the European Commission EIP-AGRI website and promotional video: http://bit.ly/2fRmL9c and http://bit.ly/2eXxde1.    

European Innovation Prize for Irish Woman 

Innovation and Inspirational Ideas

Leo, Margaret and Anne Marie Farrelly, Mairead McGuinness MEP and Maura Canning, Chair of IFA Farm Family & Social Affairs CommitteeMargaret Farrelly from Kells, Co. Meath was announced winner of 2016 European Innovation Prize for Women Farmers awarded by Copa Cogeca.  Margaret is truly an inspiration in the area of family faming, innovation and entrepreneurship.  

In the late 1980’s, Margaret started a family farm business with 150 hens to supplement the family income.  Margaret began supplying eggs to a local packer and has since built her business to an enterprise that currently comprises of a free-range flock of 160,000 hens on 150 hectares of land and an annual turnover of €6.2 million. Margaret’s company employs 33 part-time and full-time staff and her eggs are sold under the O’Eggs brand.  To be further inspired by Margaret and her family business, check out the article published on the European Commission’s EIP-AGRI website: http://bit.ly/2eXwLN9s

Adventure at Dunmore 

Dunmore East Adventure Centre

Water-based adventure zone in Dunmore East.Karen Harris along with husband Gavin Sweeney and friend Rupert Musgrave, established Dunmore East Adventure Centre over 20 years ago. They started out providing kayaking, canoeing, archery and windsurfing and employed one seasonal part time instructor along with themselves. Today they employ 5 full time and 25 + part time seasonal instructors. 

In 2013, the promoters applied for funding under the Encouragement of Tourism Activity measure to enhance the existing adventure centre by providing new innovative activities that were not available in Ireland, including an aqua park and a team building zone. 

According to Karen, they "strive to employ as many local people as possible, peaking in the summer months when over 25 extra staff are drafted in to instruct the large volume of customers that the business now generates. A maintenance team is also on standby to keep the premises in tip top shape as well as designing and building new activities".

The Dunmore East Adventure Centre is now one of the biggest adventure centres in the South of Ireland and has the most extensive range of both indoor and outdoor activity. The benefit of the investment has meant that Summer Camps are now run for 9 weeks in the summer while children are on their holidays in Dunmore East. The impact of this activity has hugely benefited the local shops, pubs and restaurants with an increase in tourism numbers during the summer months.

For more information, visit http://www.dunmoreadventure.com
 

Cooperating to GROW

Rural Youth Arts & Culture Workshops Redevelopment & Cooperation Project

Young participants in GROWThe Rural Youth Arts & Culture cooperation project provided opportunities for young people aged 14-17 from across Antrim, Carrickfergus and Newtownabbey to get to know their rural European neighbours from Sisteron in south-east France, Kullaa in west Finland and Abja in south Estonia.  

A pre-development project was completed during 2012 to establish the feasibility of participating in a project. During the implementation phase, four workshops were held in France, Finland, Estonia and Northern Ireland, with approximately 40 young people taking part in each workshop.

Bob Adams, member of the GROW Local Action Group said, "The Rural Youth project is particularly special to us.  It brings Europe to life for young people, who are the future of our rural areas, and gives our young people the opportunity to get involved."

For more information, see www.growsouthantrim.com

LEADER Cooperation and the NRN - What We Offer

LEADER Cooperation Support

LEADER Cooperation Resource GuidesOnline assistance with partner search and technical support for Local Action Groups (LAGs), including access to Partner Search Request Form, Preparatory Technical Support Template and direct link to European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) Cooperation Offers. 

Study or Exchange visits to enable LAGs to create better links with each other and develop closer working relationships for cooperation. The NRN can help to identify potential study visit opportunities and help facilitate the planning of exchange visits. Each the LAG is responsible for any costs associated with individual study or exchange visits. 

Organisation of cooperation events at various levels. Cooperation events can give LAGs the opportunity to find potential partners with similar interests and project ideas. 

Guidance documents, studies, Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) and publications will be available shortly on the NRN website www.nationalruralnetwork.ie. Cooperation guides and studies developed during the course of the programme will be added to the website. To access previous publications and useful documents visit http://enrd.ec.europa.eu/leader-clld/cooperation_en. 

Facilitating discussions, technical meetings and capacity building among key stakeholders can help to overcome any challenges and maximise the potential cooperation opportunities that exist. LAGs can submit requests for support under specific themes or areas of interest to the NRN for consideration. 

For more information, the LEADER Cooperation Contact point for Ireland is: 
James Claffey E: james@irishrurallink.ie T: +353 (0) 90 6482744 

Town and Village Renewal Scheme

Overview and Scheme Outline

Ballycroy, Co. MayoIreland’s towns and villages are the focus of the social, commercial and civic life of their wider communities. The significant deterioration of many small towns and villages throughout the country is clearly visible in the form of empty shops, abandoned buildings, vacant lands and a generally poor environment to live in or visit. Targeted action is needed to arrest this decline and harness the regeneration potential of our towns and villages to support economic recovery. This new scheme to support town and village regeneration is part of a concerted effort by Government to support rural development.

The central aim of the scheme is to support the revitalisation of towns and villages in order to improve the living and working environment of their communities and increase their potential to support increased economic activity into the future.

For more information, see http://bit.ly/2fhxp5T

Best Practice

Organic Farming Scheme


Organic farmer, Tom Dunne with cattle in a fieldThe Organic Farming Scheme (OFS) is funded through the Rural Development Programme.  Due to the popularity and high demand for the scheme the funding allocation of €10 million per year has now been exhausted and the scheme is currently closed to new applicants. The Organic Unit within the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) operates the scheme through which prospective organic farmers enter a 5 year contract with the first two years being conversion and the subsequent 3 years a commitment to farm organically. 

The objectives of the scheme are two fold:
  • to deliver enhanced environmental benefits and preserve biodiversity and animal welfare benefits
  • to encourage producers to respond to the market demand for organically produced food. 
Tom Dunne winner of the 2016 Zurich farmer of the year award, which highlights innovation and dedication within the farming sector, is an organic farmer. "I was at a crossroads - I wasn’t getting enough of a return from my beef enterprise.   I began researching my options. I attended some organic farm walks and spoke to other organic farmers. The Organic Farming Scheme seemed like a suitable option for me. Organic beef commands a premium price. I decided to enter into the Organic Farming scheme. I haven’t regretted my decision once in my seven years of participation in the scheme. "

For more information, see http://www.nationalruralnetwork.ie/best-practice 

Forthcoming Events

Calendar
The Bioeconomy: Creating Value for Farmers & Foresters, City West Hotel Dublin, 23 November
AGRIFORVALOR is a H2020 funded project, bringing new technologies and innovation that can add value to biomass from agriculture and forestry. http://bit.ly/2fVQ745

UCD School of Agriculture & Food Science, Research Seminar Series, Wed 30th November
Seminar on “Agroforestry Research in Europe http://www.ucd.ie/agfood/researchseminarseries/

European Evaluation Helpdesk for Rural Development, Good Practice Workshop, Bordeaux, 5-6 December
This good practice workshop, 'Targeted data management for evidence based RDP evaluations', aims to provide a forum for discussion and exchange on the topic and for transfer of knowledge regarding useful practices on different data management systems for evidence based evaluation. The main target audience are Managing Authorities, Paying Agencies, LAGs, Data Providers, RDP evaluators, etc. For further information, see here.

Teagasc National Dairy Conference, 6th December, Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork, and 7th December, Mullingar Park Hotel, Co Westmeath
The theme of the conference is ‘Technologies for Success’  and provides an opportunity for farmers and agri-professionals to learn about new ideas, share information and be inspired to take action. http://bit.ly/2eSxKxZ
Members of the NRN Team
 

Meet the NRN Team

The National Rural Network (NRN) Consortium Coordination Group: (standing): Philip Farrelly, Maria Pettit, Johnny Sheehan, Seamus Boland (Project Director), Dr. Therese Conway and James Claffey; (seated) Dr. Maura Farrell, Deirdre Garvey and Freda Salley. For more information visit www.nationalruralnetwork.ie
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