The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) has called on Teagasc to include a module on upland farming as part of a new Green Cert to be rolled out this September.

INHFA vice president Micheal McDonnell called for “immediate action” and said that the organisation has been “pressing Teagasc for some time now to have such a module introduced”.

He highlighted the importance of upland farming to the survival of those rural communities and said it’s important "to ensure that those farming these lands are properly educated to carry out this vital task.”

With an increased focus on upland farming in recent times, the INHFA leader maintained “it is vital that our future farmers are equipped with the knowledge and research that will help them make informed decisions that will benefit the agricultural output while also benefiting biodiversity.”

McDonnell outlined the following areas for inclusion in any future module:

  • Herd and flock management in the uplands, with a focus on breeds that work best to bring positive benefits to our uplands in terms of managing carbon and habitats
  • Research on benefits of sheep and cattle grazing for biodiversity
  • Farm livestock management, including the adoption of new technologies such as virtual fencing, GPS tracking and drone technology
  • Climate smart agriculture-environmental benefits of good upland management
  • Uplands and food - quality beef and lamb - low carbon footprint, high environmental benefit
  • Concluding, the INHFA vice president stated that "upland farmer education is crucial for promoting sustainable agriculture, and protecting our way of life.”

    He stressed that it is “vital that farmers have the knowledge to carry out the right task that benefits our sustainable farming system, while also benefiting our biodiversity and ecosystem services."