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Northern Ireland Environment Link Logo
 

News

 

Events

 

Jan 2018 right left

New Year’s Day Winter Walk

Monday 1st January
Mount Stewart
Adult £10, Child £5

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Historic Garden Restoration

Sunday 7th January
Gilford Castle, Gilford Village, Co Armagh
Free

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Have a go: Hedge laying

Saturday 20th January
Mount Stewart
No Charge, Donations Welcome

Meadow Management

Sunday 21st January
Balloo Wetland & Woodland, Bangor
Free

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Action Renewables Energy Association (AREA) – The Opportunities in Energy Storage

Tuesday 23rd January
The Doyen, 829 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7GY
£66

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Griddle Baking

Saturday 27th January
Rowallane Garden
Normal Admission, Members Free

Get Stuck In at Murlough

Sunday 28th January
Murlough NNR
No Charge, Donations Welcome

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Agriculture

Agriculture has shaped much of the landscape of rural Northern Ireland, occupying approximately 73.9% of the total land area producing food and a range of public goods on which the people of Northern Ireland depend.

Agriculture

Agricultural land can provide multiple benefits to society and how we use such land can play a pivotal role in climate change mitigation and adaptation, halting biodiversity loss, flood reduction, supporting productive agriculture and shaping places where people want to live and work.

In April 2013, the Agri–Food Strategy Board produced ‘Going for Growth’, a strategic action plan for growth in the sector up to 2020. The strategy is very ambitious in terms of projected growth in employment (15%) and sales (60% overall, with 75% of sales outside Northern Ireland). These ambitious growth plans present a major risk to the environment and must be matched with an equal desire for environmental sustainability.

In recent decades the CAP has pushed farming in an unsustainable direction. Agricultural intensification has resulted in unintended consequences for the environment such as declines in wildlife, problems with water quality and a reduction in soil quality, all of which form the productive base of agriculture.

However, agriculture can be part of the solution, which is evidenced through the role farmers and land managers play in the maintenance of landscapes and delivery of current agri–environment schemes.  The CAP has not been effective at meeting one of its key outcomes of helping to build a resilient agricultural industry. In NI 87% of farm income is derived from EU subsidies– compared with 53% for the UK. Without financial support most farming in NI is uneconomically viable. This has been brought into stark relief by the risks posed to future agriculture support and the implications for farming as a result of the UK’s decision to the leave the EU.

 

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Agricultural policy costs €57.7billion annually – 40% of the EU budget.

The water footprint of agricultural products contributes by far the largest fraction of the total water footprint of EU27+1.

Over the last 10 years, employment in farming has dropped by 25% with an overall loss of 3.7 million jobs.

Annually 90 million tonnes of food, or 179kg per person, or 50% of all edible and healthy food is wasted in EU households, supermarkets, restaurants and along the food supply chain.

The cost of soil degradation is estimated at €38billion annually.

20% of all private sector employment in Northern Ireland is in the Agri–Food sector.

The farming and processing industries contribute around £1billion per annum of value added to the local economy.

Farm numbers and incomes have been declining in real terms for the past 28 years, while Northern Ireland’s primary agricultural outputs are livestock and dairy products, for both local consumption and export.

Arable production has continued to decline since 1981. Potatoes, apples and mushrooms are the main crops for human use, with wheat, arable crop silage and other crops increasing in recent years.

10% of Northern Ireland is woodland. 0.75% of NI is ancient woodland.