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The management teams of the Ring of Gullion, the Mournes and Strangford and Lecale Areas of Outstanding Nature Beauty (AONBs) have teamed up with the Woodland Trust, to invite interested members of the local farming community to sign up for a Resilient Farms Development virtual workshop on Thursday 25 June at 7pm.  

This is the second year of a project, which is working closely with farmers to partner them in trialling a new approach to delivering sustainable, improved and diversified farm businesses. 

The project focuses on the use of ‘green infrastructure’ and management changes as an essential part of farming production. As part of the project, there will be an opportunity for farmers to develop a bespoke farm plan. The farmer can also be provided with assistance in exploring potential funding opportunities, which will facilitate the implementation of the plan on their respective farm. 

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Laura Devlin said “As well as the increasing daily running costs for farms, adverse weather and disease have also become major problems within our farming community. The prolonged wet, cold winter this year caused considerable issues at many levels. Outside shelter from hedges and trees are vitally important in protecting swards and stock and if properly planned, can be a vital tool towards farm viability. We are delighted to partner with the Woodland Trust for a second year to deliver this workshop, which will offer local farmers a unique opportunity to explore diversification and green infrastructure within their farms.” 

In the last 50 years, increased mechanisation and use of artificial inputs, brought in fodder and changes towards continental breeds have allowed farmers to increase productivity. However, increases in the costs of fodder, fuel and fertilizer have in recent times lead to declines in overall income. With time and money at a premium, many farmers are now looking for more efficient ways to make farming pay. One such option involves exploring the benefits of green and living infrastructures such as hedges, trees, sward changes and even stock changes. 

The Woodland Trust, a charity that supports the planting of trees and hedges, knows that it needs to work closely with farmers and help support them in their primary business of food production.  It is therefore focused on working closely with farming communities to promote the many benefits that trees provide to help achieve this. Shelter and trees are only part of a bigger picture and for that reason the farm survey will, when required, offer support and signposting towards information of pasture management, stock changes and diversification opportunities and more. 

To register for a place on the Resilient Farms Development virtual workshop, please 

book directly via the Ring of Gullion website WWW.RINGOFGULLION.ORG or call 028 3082 8592.

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