Local farmers, Clare and Gabriel Kelly from near Trillick, have been chosen as Farming for Nature Ambassadors in Northern Ireland.

The six new Ambassadors from farms across Northern Ireland were celebrated for taking a whole-farm approach to working with nature at an event held at The Jungle in Magherafelt.

They spoke about why working with biodiversity and profitability can go hand in hand in agriculture.

At the recent event the farmers took part in a panel discussion. They have also been speaking about how nature protection and food production are not mutually exclusive, and it is perfectly possible to farm in a nature-friendly way while also maintaining a viable, profitable business.

The six Farming for Nature Ambassadors for Northern Ireland are Clare and Gabriel Kelly from Trillick; Ruth and Scott Walker, from Ballymena; David McBride, from Glenwherry; Edward Ellison, from Templepatrick; Dale Orr, from Strangford; and Jonny Blair, from Limavady.

Clare and Gabriel started out by setting aside rushy areas on their farm that were too wet and boggy for their cattle and then planted trees and hedgerows, creating space for nature and shelter belts for their livestock.

They now create bedding from their rushes rather than buying in straw, and are seeking to reuse and recycle wherever they can.

Clare said: “People think you can either have great cattle or farm sustainably, but we have both.

“We are making a contribution to the environment but we are also running a successful business.

“We believe that being economically and environmentally sustainable go hand in hand. It’s far cheaper and more profitable to work with nature than against it.”

The project was funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs as part of the Shared Island Civic Society Fund, with support from the Burrenbeo Trust and The Farming For Nature Project.

The Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) is a farmer-led organisation embracing farm-level solutions to local and global problems, such as biodiversity loss and climate change.