Monthly newsletter of the National Rural Network - August 2016
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Connecting Communities

growing our future 

August 2016

Welcome to the sixth 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. In this issue we explore a number of key issues for rural communities. For more see
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Transferring the Family Farm: The Human Element 

Farm Succession Policy Brief

Intergenerational Farm ActivityThe Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway recently published a Policy Brief, which emanated from research carried out within the university's Geography Department.  

The research focused on key issues of farm succession and inheritance within the Irish context and probes the behavioural intentions and attitudes of older farmers towards succession and retirement. Intergenerational family farm transfer is a complex and highly topical issue that is increasingly seen as crucial to the survival, continuity and future prosperity of the agricultural sector, traditional family farm and broader sustainability of rural communities.

While financial incentives to stimulate and entice the process are important, there are many more facets to the farm transfer decision-making process, which in a large part have been neglected. This has resulted in the formulation and implementation of largely unsuccessful policy strategies, which have had little regard for elderly farmers’ emotions.

Read the policy brief here.

€6.32 Million EU Funding Secured for Agri-Food under Horizon 2020

 Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 2

Horizon 2020 logoMinister for Agriculture, Food & Marine Michael Creed TD has welcomed that agri-researchers from academia and companies in Ireland have been awarded a total of €6.32 million in the most recent round of EU funding from the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme related to agriculture, food, marine and inland waters, the rural economy and the bio-economy. This follows the recent announcement by the Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD about Ireland’s overall success in winning funding from the EU for recently awarded research and innovation projects. The following links provide more information about Horizon Society Challenge 2: and

Foodwise 2025

Steps to Success 2016

Minister Michael Creed TD, Department of Agriculture, Food and the MarineThe Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has announced the first progress report on Food Wise 2025 Steps to Success 2016. Food Wise 2025 is a successor to Food Harvest 2020. It sets out ambitious growth targets for the agri-food industry for the next decade.  

The programmes in the Rural Development Plan were developed to complement and encourage farmers to take actions geared towards sustainability as identified in Food Wise 2025. Cumulatively, the plan projects that exports have the potential to grow to €19bn per annum in value by 2025. 

Steps to Success 2016 highlights the progress achieved one year into the implementation of the Food Wise 2025 strategy. Of the 330 detailed actions which were due to commence in 2015 or 2016, 28% have been achieved or substantial action has been undertaken; and a further 67% have commenced and are progressing well. Minister Creed stated “this is a good start and I will press on to get as many actions as possible completed within the next year”. For more information about Steps to Success 2016, visit 

Promoting Efficiency in the Beef Sector

8th Beef Forum Held

The eighth meeting of the Beef Forum, chaired by Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, focused on the current state of the beef market and the outlook for the remainder of 2016 and assessed the implications of proposals from the European Commission on Climate Change. 

According to Minister Creed “the beef forum is a critically important vehicle for engagement between stakeholders in the sector, including processors, marts, farm bodies and relevant state agencies. It is not realistic to expect the forum to solve all of the issues of the market place, but there have been a number of significant achievements already”.

Funding from the Rural Development Fund which funds schemes such as the Beef Data Genomics Programme addresses climate change by encouraging efficient production. The Beef Data Genomic Programme provides financial support to suckler beef farmers who undertake to carry out actions aimed at improving the genetic merit of their suckler herd. 

Efficiency gains are predicted to lower greenhouse gas emissions by improving quality and efficiency. As part of the programme farmers receive financial aid in return for which they must maintain records, carry out sampling and attend specialised training. Almost 20,000 farmers have completed training under the scheme. Over €40 million has been paid out to 22,000 herd owners.  

For more information, see

Opportunities for Renewable Energy

Energy in Agriculture 2016

Wind farm in Co. MayoEnergy in Agriculture 2016 is a DAFM approved Knowledge Transfer event. The event is taking place on Tuesday 23rd August in Gurteen Agricultural College, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary. 
The aim of this free event is to highlight the opportunities for farmers with regards to renewable energy and how they can make their farming processes more energy efficient. There will be talks on a range of topics including solar photovoltaic, biomass, bio-gas and wind power, as well as exhibitors highlighting energy efficiency.
For more information about Energy in Agriculture 2015 and to register, visit 

Newsletter on Agriculture and Innovation


EIP-AGRI logoThe August edition of the EIP-AGRI Service Point newsletter has been published. The newsletter shares best practice in agriculture and innovation across the EU, highlights relevant publications and events and flags funding opportunities.

You can access the August edition here. To sign up to the newsletter, click here.


Solas na Mara in An Rinn Co. WaterfordBest Practice

Sólás na Mara

Sólás na Mara was established by Caroline Gordon and Cian Ó Conchúir in 2012 and is based on the pier-side in Helvick, An Rinn, in the Gaeltacht area of Co. Waterford. The initiative was part-financed by LEADER (2007-2013).

Drawing on the success of seaweed baths located around the Irish coastline, Caroline and Cian saw the potential for Sólás na Mara in the coastal area of An Rinn and understanding the scientific and medical benefits of seaweed bath treatments, saw an opportunity to marry this traditional and indigenous treatment with their own unique scientific knowledge, expertise and craft.  

Sólás na Mara provides a seaweed bathhouse accompanied by ancillary services including massage, physical therapy, acupuncture and aromatherapy. It also incorporates a rehabilitation gym and a refreshment cafe. It currently employs two full time and six part time staff. It has succeeded in establishing a niche service in a rural community, availing of seawater and seaweed as a readily available natural resource. Additional information on the project can be found at:  

Further information on Sólás na Mara can be found at 

Forthcoming Events

NRN Annual Conference 14th October 2016, Athlone

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 

Tullamore Show & AIB National Livestock Show 14th August, Tullamore
The Tullamore Show takes place on Sunday 14th August in Tullamore, Co. Offaly. For further information and to book tickets, visit

LIFE Funding for Environment Projects - September Deadlines
The EU Commission has published its 2016 CALL for proposals for LIFE Action Grants for its 2 sub-programmes: Environment and Climate Action. Various deadlines apply between 7th and 15th September 2016. For more information on how to apply, 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 

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

North South LEADER Cooperation Conference in Newry, 8-9 November
The Rural Network for Northern Ireland and 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.
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, Johnny Sheehan, Maria O’Gorman and Freda Salley. For more information visit

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