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    Oct 2019 right left


    9th IUCN UK Peatland Programme Conference – Peatlands: Investing in the Future

    Tuesday 1st October
    The Europa Hotel, Belfast
    See website for details


    Comber Greenway Task Day

    Saturday 5th October
    Billy Neill crossing at 9am, Dundonald or on the greenway under North Road bridge at 9.30am, East Belfast


    NILGA Changing Places: Planning, Place–shaping and Place–making in NI

    Tuesday 8th October
    Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen

    Northern Ireland Energy Forum 2019

    Tuesday 8th October
    La Mon, Belfast
    See website for details


    Citigroup Environmental Expo

    Thursday 10th October
    Citigroup, Titanic Quarter, Belfast


    Grass Roots AGM

    Saturday 12th October
    Newtownbreda Presbyterian Church Hall, Ormeau Road, Belfast


    CEDaR Training Course – Woodlice

    Saturday 19th October
    Crawfordsburn Country Park

    Maintaining a Young Hedge

    Sunday 20th October
    Kilmacrew House near Banbridge

    The Future of Food Packaging

    Monday 21st October
    CAFRE Loughry Campus, Cookstown BT80 9AA


    Inaugural QUB Sustainability Lecture

    Wednesday 23rd October
    Peter Froggatt Centre/0G/007, Queen’s University Belfast

    Water Framework Directive Stakeholder Conference 2019

    Wednesday 23rd October
    College of Agriculture Food & Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), Greenmount Campus, 45 Tirgracy Road, Antrim BT41 4PS

    CEDaR Training Course – Grassland Fungi

    Thursday 24th October
    Magilligan Field Centre

    Enough is Enough – The Rise and Rise of Food Poverty

    Friday 25th October
    TBC, Belfast

    Scarecrow Festival

    Saturday 26th October
    Normal Admission

    Hidden Autumn Estate

    Saturday 26th October
    Adult £15

    Spooky Springhill

    Sunday 27th October
    Springhill Moneymore
    Normal Admission. NT Members and under 5’s free.

    Valuing Nature Annual Conference 2019

    Monday 28th October
    Royal Society, London



    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.


    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.