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There is something in EFS for every farmer

August 12, 2021

County Down arable farmer David Sandford of Portloughan Farm, Strangford has recently been appointed as one of the Farm Habitat Technology Demonstration Farmers. The Technology Demonstration Farms (TDF) initiative aims to increase the rate of technology adoption on Northern Ireland farms and gives other farmers the opportunity to learn about and adopt new technologies following a visit to the farm.

The 70-hectare farm consists of 30 hectares of arable crops, 24 hectares of woodland, 2 ha of Christmas Trees and 14 hectares of other habitats such as ponds, field margins and Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) options.

CAFRE’s Biodiversity technologist, Nicola Warden has been helping David prepare for the TDF visits and comments; “After almost 18 months of virtual meetings, the opening of the Farm Habitat TDF’s is a brilliant opportunity for farmers to visit a farm and talk to one of our TDF farmers about their experience of EFS.”

David reflects on becoming one of the Farm Habitat TDF farmers, “I am enthusiastic about agri-environment schemes and have been involved in the schemes for many years. Through previous schemes and EFS, I have been able to assist wildlife and biodiversity on my farm by creating habitats and providing winter-feed sources alongside the arable and forestry enterprises on the farm. The schemes reward farmers for doing such work and I feel there is something in EFS that will suit every farmer. Becoming a TDF farmer will allow others to visit my farm and see the work I have done and how it works well alongside the arable enterprise.”

Farm Habitat TDF farmer David Sandford standing amongst an area of winter feed crop for wild birds.
Farm Habitat TDF farmer David Sandford standing amongst an area of winter feed crop for wild birds.

EFS is now open for new applications until 10th September and more information is available on the DAERA website. During the EFS application period, individuals can book a physical or virtual TDF training event which will take the form of a farm walk; all information and how to register is available on the CAFRE website. Pre-registration for the training events is essential due to restricted capacity on each farm walk. Please visit the CAFRE website and search for TDF or the events section.