The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is currently establishing a network of Technology Demonstration Farms [TDFs] and the next application window is open.
The role of these farmers is to host visits and showcase the use of innovative technologies on their farms. The aim is to encourage a greater rate of technology adoption on farms in Northern Ireland as research shows that early adopters of innovations and technology play an important role in convincing their peers to take more innovative approaches.
It is the intention to apppoint six new farmers to demonstrate environmental technologies. These will be people who enjoy welcoming other farmers onto their farm and can tell their story of how they have introduced new technologies and management practices into their business.
Farms will be selected under two themes namely: Farm Habitat Creation and Management and Efficient Sustainability. Farmers are eligible to apply for more than one theme but can only be appointed under one theme. It should also be noted that if a herd does not have ‘OTF’ - Officially Tuberculosis Free, status the farm can still apply to be a TDF. Visits can be held remotely via a video conferencing application should either TB status or COVID restrictions prevent an on-farm meeting.
Within each theme there is a list of proven technologies which should currently be used on the farm. Three farms are being sought for each theme with appointments being made on a competitive basis. Those farmers who meet the eligibility criteria, and are short-listed, will be assessed by a panel during a visit to their farm.
Selected farms will be expected to host between eight and twelve visits for groups of between five and twenty five farmers. CAFRE Technologists and scheme support staff will help the farmer prepare to host visits and at each visit a support assistant will be available to help them with arrangements. All bookings will be made through CAFRE.
Technology Demonstration Farms will receive a hosting payment of £600 for each visit. In addition, CAFRE will support TDFs by analysing the performance of their technology, providing appropriate diagnostic testing and arranging, where appropriate, for specialists, to visit and speak on their farm.
Farmers who are interested in becoming a Technology Demonstration Farm can find out more details about the scheme and complete an online application from the CAFRE website.
Applications will open on Wednesday 7 April 2021 and close at 4.00pm on Friday 30 April 2021.
Technology Demonstration Farms will help DAERA’s College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) to deliver the Innovation, Technology, Evaluation, Demonstration Scheme. This new scheme, is part of the NI Rural Development Programme and is funded by DAERA and the EU.