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

growing our future 

October 2016

Welcome to the eighth 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. For more see
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European Innovation Partnerships for Agriculture: linking people, ideas and practice

NRN Annual Conference 2016

NRN Annual ConferenceMichael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine launched the European Innovation Partnerships (EIP) initiative under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 at the National Rural Network Conference on Friday 14th October in Athlone. Providing funding of €59 million, this initiative will fund EIP operational groups to implement Innovative Projects that contribute to the Rural Development Programme.

Inge Van Oost, Policy Officer with the European Commission, spoke at the conference of the importance of EIPs within a European context. She outlined its significance for solving long-term agricultural challenges and highlighted how the innovative process is linked to the multi-actor approaches under Horizon 2020.  Fintan O’Brien, Principal Officer in the
General EIPs Innovation Unit of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, outlined the steps and processes involved in establishing General EIPs via Ireland’s RDP.  These steps include:

  1. Identifying a challenge/issue
  2. Designing a process to solve the identified challenge/issue
  3. Bringing together a group of actors to form an EIP operational group
  4. Designing and implementing a business/environmental plan
  5. Disseminating the results of carrying out the plan

Ronan O’ Flaherty, Principal Officer in the Locally Led Scheme Section of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine highlighted the opportunities to form operational groups looking specifically at Locally-led Environmental and Climate Projects and at the Hen Harrier and the Fresh Water Pearl Mussel Projects. The Operational Groups of these projects will be in the form of a Project Management Teams which will encompass a number of Local Area Teams and will be overseen by a Project Steering Committee made up of members from the Department of Agriculture, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and other relevant stakeholders.

In all, both Department officials suggested that the ultimate aim of these innovation partnerships is to ‘road-test’ new ideas and practices which can then be used more widely by farmers and others to improve productivity, enhance resource efficiency and pursue sustainable farming practices.

The Conference closed with an open forum session chaired by Dr Maura Farrell of the NRN, that led to a lively discussion amongst the 200 in attendance on the information presented on the day.

An initial call for submissions for the General EIPs and the Locally-led Environmental and Climate Projects will issue in November while a separate request for tenders will also issue by the end of October to recruit Project Teams for the Hen Harrier and the Fresh Water Pearl Mussel Projects.
Further information on the conference can be found here.
Further information on EIPs can be obtained from:

  • Locally Led Scheme Section, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford. Lo-Call Number 076 1064454,
  • General EIPs Innovation Unit, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Portlaoise, Co. Laois.  Telephone 076 1064557, email

Practice into Profit

Teagasc National Beef Conference 2016

Beef cattle in fieldOver 700 farmers attended the Teagasc National Beef conference in Athlone on the 4th October “Practice into Profit”. The conference outlined the latest research in relation to optimising profit in dairy calf to beef systems. The conference was an approved Knowledge Transfer Beef event.

Rob Prendiville presented research from Johnstown Castle where all systems of dairy calf- to-beef have been evaluated. His key message was “Systems that utilise high quantities of pasture and which are focused on high output per hectare are fundamental to the profitability of calf to beef systems”.

Alan Kehoe a farmer from County Wexford outlined his system of steer beef production. He started his cattle operation with 25 calves in 2012 and is now rearing 120 calves on his holding. He outlined how grassland management is critical to maximise animal performance.

Thierry Pabiou of the Irish Cattle and Beef Breeding Federation detailed the French beef breeding programme and how France has developed programs to improve beef cattle with the aim of achieving a more profitable beef industry. 

To see the full conference proceedings, visit 

GLAS Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme

2017 Application Process

Farm buildingsThe 2017 GLAS Traditional Farm Buildings Grant scheme is now open for applications.  This grant scheme is administered by the Heritage Council on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and only farmers approved in the GLAS scheme are eligible to apply. 

A grant award will not be for more than 75% of the cost of the works with grant amounts varying from €4,000 to a maximum of €25,000. The grant is available for the conservation of traditional farm outbuildings, including roof, walls, structural repairs, windows and doors. The grant is also available for other related structures including historic yard surfaces, walls, gate pillars and gates. The closing date for completed applications is Friday 18th November 2016 at 5pm. For more information, visit 

Source: The Heritage Council

EIP-Agri: Operational Groups: First Experiences

Report from EIP-Agri workshop in Legnaro, Italy

EIP-Agri Operational GroupsThe very first European Innovation Partnerships for Agricultural Sustainability Operational Groups (OGs) are now established and they are running projects with funding from national and regional rural development programmes. In April 2016 in Legnaro, Italy, over 80 people from existing OGs and other relevant stakeholders came together at the EIP-AGRI workshop 'Operational Groups: First Experiences' to explore the initial experiences of setting up operational groups and the early stages of project implementation. A report that gives a brief overview of the presentations and discussions that took place can be read here

Over 4,000 Approvals to date under TAMS II

TAMS II Payment Claim Facility

Young farmer capital investment schemeTo date under  TAMS II,  4,428 approvals have been issued encompassing all 6 schemes. All applications received in a given tranche are examined and then ranked and selected before approvals issue .This process is underway for Tranche 3. 

The TAMS II Payment Claim Facility has been available online for farmers since the 26th July.  Farmers have been recording payment claims since that date across the six TAMS measures. Payments have commenced, and will continue to issue on an ongoing basis in respect of fully validated payment claims received.   

Please see below breakdown of approvals and payment claims for each of the 6 schemes.  “Claims finalised” refers to valid payment claims received.
Scheme (3 Tranches) Approved Claims Finalised Payments made
AWNSS Proposal 1,105 22 1
DES Proposal 1,535 1203 3
LESS Proposal 419 33 8
OCIS Proposal 250 14 0
PPIS Proposal 64 1 0
YFCIS Proposal 874 53 1

For more information about TAMS II, visit here.

GLAS Deadline 15th November

Low-Emission Slurry Spreading

Low-emission slurry spreader
GLAS participants who selected the Low-emission Slurry Spreading action as part of their GLAS Plan are reminded that annual declaration and claim forms must be returned to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine by the 15th November. Failure to return correctly completed forms will delay 2016 payment.

See here for further information. 
Annex 1 (letter):
Annex 2 (claim form): 

Best Practice

Tipperary New Entrepreneur Competition

Niamh O'Dwyer from Organic Little One with products in greenhouseSouth Tipperary Development Company (STDC) has worked extensively on developing the enterprise sector and in fostering the spirit of entrepreneurship in the county through a series of projects funded under the LEADER Rural Development Programme 2007-2013. Like many rural towns across Ireland, Tipperary Town has suffered greatly from the downturn in the economy and has a high unemployment rate. As part of its response to its economic difficulties, the town established an Economic Steering Group. This group was charged with developing a number of strategies that would help the town “get back on its feet”.

STDC approached the group with the idea of developing an “Apprentice Style” Entrepreneurship Competition.  The basic idea was to identify a group of 15 long-term unemployed, all of whom had a business idea.  The group was subjected to a rigorous classroom business training course.  As part of the course, all participants received one-to-one mentoring to enable them to research and develop their individual ideas with the support and guidance of their trainers, the animator and peer support. Each participant presented their business plan to a team of experts. The “Tipperary Entrepreneur of the Year” was selected at a Gala Event in 2013.

A number of successes were associated with the project including: 
  • The programme can be easily replicated. STDC ran it with two other towns in the county
  • The project was a ‘good news story’ for Tipperary town with a lot of positivity developed.
Click here for the full project report. The photo above features Niamh O'Dwyer from Organic Little One.

This report was generated from information provided to the Department on behalf of the promoters.

Forthcoming Events

Rural Renaissance Opportunities in the Horizon 2020 Programme, 20 October
DAFM, DAERA NI and InterTrade Ireland network and information event takes place in the Crowne Plaza Dundalk from 10am to 4pm.
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
Burren Winterage School, 27 - 29 October
This year’s Burren Winterage School takes place in Kilfenora, Co. Clare and will focus on the theme of ‘Working with nature – a farmer-centred approach.' For more information and to register, visit

North South LEADER Cooperation Conference, 8 - 9 November
The Rural Development Council for Northern Ireland and the Ireland 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. Note: this conference is by invitation only.
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

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