Monthly newsletter of the National Rural Network - May 2016
View this email in your browser

Connecting Communities

growing our future 

May 2016

Welcome to the third 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
Connect with the National Rural Network
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Connect on LinkedIn
Visit our website

European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI)

 Rural Development Programme 2014-2020

EIP AGRI LogoOne interesting aspect of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020 currently being explored and promoted by the National Rural Network is the European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI). The European Innovation Partnership 'Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability' (EIP-AGRI) is one of five EIPs which have been launched by the European Commission in a bid to promote rapid modernisation of the sectors concerned by stepping up innovation efforts. 

EIPs aim to streamline, simplify and better coordinate existing instruments and initiatives and complement them with actions where necessary. The EIP-AGRI seeks to foster innovation in the agricultural and forestry sectors by bringing research and practice closer together, through research and innovation projects as well as via the EIP-AGRI network.

Two specific funding sources are particularly important for the EIP-AGRI: the EU Research and Innovation framework, Horizon 2020, as well as the EU Rural Development Policy.

In the coming months, the National Rural Network will provide information and updates regarding EIP-Agri and the Rural Development, leading to a national conference in October which will deliver key guidance and direction for Irish farmers, researchers and extensionists wishing to become involved in this programme. 

In the meantime for additional information on EIP-AGRI, check out the following website: 

Spotlight: Women in Agriculture

 Agricultural Women of Ireland Network

Women in Agriculture Report CoverFor generations the role of women in agriculture has been underestimated by the agricultural sector and society in general. In 2013, the National Rural Network published a report entitled ‘Women in Agriculture’ which examined issues associated with the participation of women in agriculture and how these issues might be addressed in future Rural Development Programme measures. In response, the Agricultural Women of Ireland Network has been formed to represent the views of, and provide a platform for, women to voice their concerns.

If you are interested in becoming part of the Agricultural Women of Ireland Network please contact Ann Doran

Click here to download the report ‘Women in Agriculture" (PDF)

Knowledge Transfer - Building on Success

Knowledge Transfer Programme

Image of tractors at workRecent years has seen a shift in focus in the delivery of on-farm advisory services towards a more efficient and cost effective group/peer learning model. Building on that success up to €100 million has been provided in the current Rural Development Programme (RDP) to roll out a new knowledge transfer initiative. 

The scheme will be open to farmers in the beef, dairy, sheep, equine, poultry and tillage sectors.  It is anticipated that up to 27,000 farmers will participate in this new three year scheme. 

Central to the delivery of the scheme will be the training and upskilling of a group of specialist facilitators drawn from the ranks of private farm consultants and Teagasc advisors. 

Training is currently ongoing among this group with the emphasis to date on facilitation techniques and specialist carbon navigator training. 

Farmers will be incentivised with an annual payment of €700 to compensate them for their time and will join groups with approximately 14 members to participate in a programme designed for their specific enterprise type. 

The scheme will have a duration of three years. Farmers participating in the scheme must meet the following requirements:
  • Attend five Knowledge Exchange Group meetings per year or four meetings plus one DAFM approved national event.
  • Complete a Farm Improvement Plan for the farm in year 1. The group facilitator will assist farmers in completing Farm Improvement Plans. The Farm Improvement Plan must be bespoke to each farm and address items including profitability, sustainability, herd health and farm safety. The Farm Improvement Plan will be updated in year 2 and 3.
  • Devise Animal Health measures for the farm in conjunction with an approved vet who has undergone DAFM training for the programme.
Members of Knowledge Transfer Groups will have access to up to date and relevant research applicable to their farming enterprise. They will learn from and share knowledge with other farmers in their group.  The Group Facilitator will give advice and discuss topical issues. The Farm Improvement Plan will demonstrate how profitability and sustainability can be increased on the farm.

Reminder: Basic Payment Scheme Application Deadline

Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

Cows in a fieldThe Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has reminded farmers that the closing date for the acceptance of applications for this years’ Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), is Monday 16 May 2016.
The Minister said “I would like to remind farmers of the importance of this closing date to ensure they benefit from the maximum payment under their BPS. My Department is urging all farmers who have not yet submitted their BPS application to do so at the earliest possible date. Given the range of benefits which online applications provide for farmers, I would also like to encourage farmers to apply online via”.
Farmers should ensure that they lodge their applications by 16th May in order to avoid penalties that must be applied where applications are received late. Given the significance of the Basic Payment to farm income, it is imperative that farmers allow themselves enough time to complete the form accurately and to make sure it is submitted on time. 
In relation to online applications, it should be noted that higher rates of online applications lead to increased efficiency in the processing of applications and the subsequent issuing of payments. Farmers may submit their application using the on-line facility themselves or through an authorised agent via For further information and assistance please contact the on-line application lo-call Helpdesk at 0761 064424.

Community Wetlands - A Threat or an Opportunity for Rural Communities?


Turf drying in bogIrish Rural Link – the national network representing the interest of rural communities are holding their annual conference and annual general meeting on Friday 6th of May at 9.30 am in the Grand Hotel, Moate, County Westmeath. The theme of the conference is entitled “Community Wetlands - A threat or an opportunity for rural communities?”

The conference will ask the question - do wetlands present communities with opportunities to develop or are they wasted land that could be used for agricultural production? Speaking at the conference will be Tadhg O’Mahony (Environmental Protection Agency), Suzanne Nally (National Parks and Wildlife Services) and Chris Uys (Abbeyleix Bog Project). 

Students from the MA in Rural Sustainability in NUI Galway gathered oral histories from a range of individuals with close links to wetlands through turf-cutting or other activities and associations. These oral histories sought to capture the rich and diverse accounts of the history, traditions, memories and stories of change and development which mark these places out as unique and part of the identity of their different communities. The students will present their findings at the conference.

To book your place call 09064-82744 or for more information see 

IRL Award Winners Announced
Irish Rural Link has also  announced the winners of it’s 11th Annual Awards to celebrate the work of community and voluntary organisations throughout the country. The Awards will be formally presented to representatives of the winning organisations at the Irish Rural Link annual conference in the Grand Hotel, Moate, Co. Westmeath on 6th May.

This year’s category 1 award went to New Future Farming Group in Co Tipperary for their role in providing knowledge and support to their members in the ever changing agriculture industry. They also act as a social outlet for their members who are employed in a now considered isolated occupation. The group's focus over the past year has been farm safety. As a result of the Farm Safety Awareness meeting, the New Futures Farming Group took the decision to help raise funds for Embrace Farm. The group were successful in raising Euro 3,630 which was recently presented to Embrace Farm.
The category 2 award goes to Roscommon Women’s Network. Roscommon Women’s Network support and provide access to services for women and families throughout county Roscommon.  RWN have a family resource drop in counselling and information centre, a 21 Learner training centre and a social enterprise charity shop.  The RWN support and services are delivered by 4 Staff and 25 Volunteers and in partnership and collaboration with the wider community, local, regional and National agencies.
Seamus Boland, CEO of Irish Rural Link congratulated the winners saying that their dedication to their community has been consistent over the years and that the work of volunteers and communities must not be taken for granted in terms of their social and economic contribution to rural communities.

Visit for more.

Best Practice

Irish Seed Savers Association

Click to play Seed savers videoIreland is blessed with a rich  agricultural legacy that stretches back thousands of years. But this unique heritage is increasingly under threat from changes is farming practices and environmental pressures. 

Anita Hayes set up the Irish Seed Savers Association in 1991 with the aim of protecting, conserving and using Irish plant genetic resources including rare heritage seeds and grains. The work was initially done on a small farm in Co. Carlow before relocating to Capparoe, Scarriff, County Clare in 1996. 

Irish Seed Savers is a social enterprise which operates with 26 dedicated staff, the majority of which are part-time workers. It currently has approximately 600 vegetable varieties; 48 grain varieties; 140 native apple varieties and a potato collection.
One of Irish Seed Savers Association’s main aims is to raise public awareness about the vulnerability of Irish agricultural biodiversity through workshops at schools and community groups. The workshops cover a range of topics including organic gardening, creating orchards, cheesemaking and bee keeping.

Irish Seed Savers attributes much of this success to the availability of LEADER funding, which was used for a range of essential work which included construction of a storage barn and a seed processing facility, as well as the fitting-out of a seed bank. 

Irish Seed Savers are constantly expanding the scope of their work. Recent projects include the 
establishment of a native broad leaf woodland and a wildlife 
sanctuary. See 

For more case studies visit

Forthcoming Events

Irish Rural Link National Conference - 6 May 2016
Environmental Issues – A Threat or an Opportunity for Rural Communities?
Venue:  Grand Hotel, Moate. Co. Westmeath

Resourcing Upland Communities - 26 & 27th May 2016  

A two-day Upland Community Partnership event organised by the Irish Uplands Forum. Download the full programme details here (PDF).
Venue: The Dunloe, Beaufort, Killarney, Co. Kerry

SAVE THE DATE: NRN Annual Conference - 14 October 2016, Croke Park

For more events visit
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. For more information visit

consortium memberlogos

supported by logos
Copyright © 2016 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 D01 · Ireland

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp