Thibaut Rodriguez from CEN-LR (www.cenlr.org/content/hnv-link/) presented the HNV-Link project at the Forum on Alternative Agricultural Practices. About 50 people attended the event organised by the regional nature park of Alpilles (funded through a LIFE+ project). CEN-LR implements diverse projects in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in Causses and Cevennes national park - a remarkable HNV farmland region. More information from http://life-alpilles.com/forum-europeen-sur-les-pratiques-agricoles-alternatives/
The long-awaited funding for renovation of the terraces and stone walls has been made available from April 2018 for the Dalmatian Islands of Croatia - HNV-Link Learning Area. Both elements are known to be important for biodiversity, and both have cultural values. The measure will be funded from the Rural Development Programme as non-productive investments. The HNV-Link partner Local action group LAG 5 had been active in securing this measure and will promote its implementation.
Among the important conditions:
- the investment in the construction of terraces or stone walls is carried out in an area where they are traditionally present, and
- the terrace is arranged for the purpose of its agricultural cultivation.
More information (in Croatian): www.dragodid.org
Cross-visits season is open! It is a busy and existing period (Exhausting? I don't know what existing means here) for HNV-Link: the learning area teams will be visiting each other during spring-summer of 2018. The objective is to learn about specific innovations to support HNV farming and farmers so that these can be adapted and implemented in new areas. As HNV-Link has discovered so far, there is no shortage of innovative solutions to challenges but knowledge about what works and how it works does not travel well. Encouragement for daring to innovate is also crucial!
The first visit took place on 18-19 April 2018, when the Portuguese Team - farmers from the Sitio de Monfurado and researchers from the university of Évora - visited the learning area of La Vera in Spain. They explored a social innovation of collaboration among many rural actors and attended the Territorios Pastoreados 3 Innovation and Participation - a major networking event on pastoralism and HNV livestock farming in Spain.
Regional meetings in all Learning Areas are events of particular importance: this is where the results of the innovation work across the whole project are presented to the key actors in the 10 project regions. Which of these many innovations will spark interest and serve as inspiration?
The first of the meetings - a conference on "The Future of High Nature Value farming in Romania" - took place on the 22nd of April 2018 in Romania. The meeting was made part of (is this phrasing correct?) the AGRARIA Fair - the biggest agrifood fair in the country. The conference was opened by the prefect of Cluj County, Aurel Cherecheş. Among the invited speakers were representatives of the European Commission (EIP Agri), Romanian ministries (Agriculture and Rural Development; Forestry and Water), Local Action Group Somes, Transilvanian farmers, NGOs, consultants, researchers and students. Over 100 people attended the conference on HNV farming, and many more visitors of the AGRARIA Fair got to hear about the HNV farmland.
Mugurel Jitea from the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca, Romania, describes the significance of the meeting at the national television (starts at min 32):
A guest post on the EIP-AGRI process in Ireland by HNV Link's Irish coordinator Dr James Moran. The feedback from other attendees is that he was brilliant sharing unique knowledge in the application process for an EIP in agriculture. National EIP-AGRI groups is certainly a possibility to try for issues of conservation on farmland. EIP-AGRI BLOG
The presentation is available: James Moran EIP-AGRI BLOG
Croatia. Fantastic initiative from HNv-Link partner in Croatia: the national park of Mljet will allocate funding to support farmers who implement nature-friendly practices on this island of exceptional beauty and natural richness. National Park Mljet is one of the stakeholders in HNV-Link and plans to strengthen island farming in ways that maintain its agro-biodiversity and contribute to sustainable development in its protected natural areas. The initiative is all more important because, so far, there has been little awareness of or attention to local multifunctional farming systems that are respectful of unique island resources.
Spain. HNV-Link in Spain will once again take part in a major event – workshop ‘Grazed Lands’. Its motto this year is ‘innovation and participation’, which is very much aligned with HNV-Link goals. The workshop targets local stakeholders, farmers, and policymakers and will take place in Plasencia (Cáceres, Spain) during 18 - 19 April. Everyone interested AND fluent in Spanish is welcome! The event itself and its major publication are good examples to adapt elsewhere. Request more information here
The UK. In early 2018 the coordinator for Dartmoor Learning Area, Gwyn Jones, organised a conference on results-based payments in Torfaen, Wales. The programme featured speakers from the Dartmoor and Burren Learning Areas. Other contributors were from other areas in the UK, including the DG Env-funded results-based pilot in the Yorkshire Dales, and from Ireland, including the hen harrier EIP project. With the logistical elements of the conference itself financed by a cooperation between 3 local LEADER action groups, the conference was a good example of HNV-Link leveraging other funding. Conference participants, who were a real mix of farmers, NGO and government, welcomed the opportunity to hear in detail for the first time about this innovative approach to agri-environment support. The event was the subject of the weekly agriculture programme on Radio Cymru.
More: Dartmoor Farming Futures (DFF)
Ireland. In Ireland, 50% of the new EIP-AGRI projects are on HNV farmland! This highlights a considerable innovation potential of such areas. HNV-Link's Irish coordinator Dr James Moran also has a guest post on the EIP-AGRI process in Ireland. He also shared unique knowledge of the application process for an EIP in agriculture. National EIP-AGRI groups are certainly possibilities to try for issues of conservation on farmland.