Operation Biodiversity: Award-winning Kilkenny farmer leads tree-mendous new initiative
Kilkenny food giant Glanbia and its family farm suppliers have embarked on a new initiative to drive increased planting of trees and hedgerows in the Irish countryside through the Operation Biodiversity programme.
The company said the initiative will utilise Glanbia Ireland’s experienced CountryLife horticulturalists to work with farmers to further enhance and enrich our landscape.
Commenting on the launch, Glanbia Ireland Chairman John Murphy said the business will donate significant volumes of trees and hedging plants as part of a long-term programme to encourage biodiversity.
“We believe that by working together through our Operation Biodiversity programme we can help enrich our landscape for generations to come. Every single tree or metre of hedgerow planted makes a difference and builds on the great work that many farmers are already doing. We are aiming to plant 100,000 trees and hedging plants, however, that is just the first step,” said Mr Murphy.
Glanbia Ireland’s team of horticulturalists at its network of 14 award-winning CountryLife Garden Centres have created tree and hedgerow bundles for different soil types.
To help drive this initiative, Glanbia Ireland will donate 10 bare root trees for every low-cost bundle of 15 trees purchased. The options feature a ‘Rich Species Bundle’ to suit both limey and acidic soils, including a variety of trees such as Oak, Alder and Mountain Ash.
In addition, for every two hedgerow bundles purchased Glanbia Ireland will donate a further bundle to cover an additional 10 metres. Each low-cost hedgerow bundle has been carefully selected and includes 40 plants, which are a mixture of both bare root trees and hedging plants.
Operation Biodiversity has teamed up with renowned environmental educator and broadcaster, Éanna Ní Lamhna, and is supported by the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan.
Commenting on the first phase of the programme, Dr Úna FitzPatrick from the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, highlighted the importance of hedgerows as homes where our flora and fauna can thrive.
“Flowering hedgerows can be a lifeline for nature, providing vital food for pollinators in spring, as well as berries in autumn for birds and mammals. The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is about all of us taking small actions that together give pollinators and other biodiversity a fighting chance of survival,” said Dr FitzPatrick.
Environmentalist Éanna Ní Lamhna explained: “This is a great initiative. Vibrant hedgerows on farms provide wildlife corridors for many of the insects, birds and mammals that are such a help to the farming operations. They also provide much needed shelter for grazing animals. Pockets of trees on farms play their part in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow and so all help to combat climate change.
“The native species being donated by Glanbia Ireland will grow very well on Irish soils and enhance the appearance of the farms on which they are planted.”
Bryan Daniels, an award-winning dairy farmer from Co Kilkenny, said: “We are always striving to do our very best to make our imprint on our farm and leave it in even better condition for the next generation. It’s important that every farmer embraces planting trees and hedgerows and Operation Biodiversity is a good way to get involved or to build on your foundations.”
This initiative builds on the many actions already in progress on farms and the strong foundations put in place by our earlier programmes, including Operation PolliNation and Operation WildNation, to allow our pollinators and other species to thrive.
Our experts will help guide people along the journey with educational videos, planting tips and advice so that everyone can help make a difference.
For further details on the Operation Biodiversity initiative and to follow our blogs and educational videos check out www.glanbiaconnect.com and www.countrylife.ie
PHOTO CAPTION: Award-winning dairy farmer and Operation Biodiversity Ambassador Bryan Daniels pictured with his children, Toby (3) and Shannon (5) at the launch of the tree and hedgerow planting initiative on his farm in Kilmoganny, Co Kilkenny. Pic – Finbarr O’Rourke