Our use of cookies

Some cookies are necessary for us to manage how our website behaves while other optional, or non-necessary, cookies help us to analyse website usage. You can Accept All or Reject All optional cookies or control individual cookie types below.

You can read more in our Cookie Notice


These cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

Analytical cookies help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on its usage.

Third-Party Cookies

These cookies are set by a website other than the website you are visiting usually as a result of some embedded content such as a video, a social media share or a like button or a contact map

Dairy Council

RSPB NI and dairy industry join forces to launch 'A Guide to Nature Positive Dairy Farming'

RSPB NI, the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland and its member organisations Dale Farm, Lakeland Dairies and Leprino Foods, alongside the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) have worked in collaboration to produce ‘A Guide to Nature Positive Dairy Farming’.

Launched this week at the Dairy Council Symposium, 22nd November, the first-of-their-kind guidelines in Northern Ireland provide a comprehensive roadmap towards nature friendly farming practices within the dairy industry.

With a network of over 3,000 farms, the dairy sector commands a substantial portion of Northern Ireland's agricultural land, providing a unique opportunity to champion nature-friendly initiatives.

This is the first time that the RSPB has worked with the dairy sector in Northern Ireland in a formal partnership, undertaking a series of farming workshops and testing on five representative dairy farms to outline a comprehensive menu of practical measures which can be taken to support nature positive farming.  

Ian Stevenson, Chief Executive of the Dairy Council Northern Ireland said,

‘’The Dairy Council has been working with RSPB NI over the last year, to develop these guidelines for farmers. By identifying what farmers are already doing, a series of practical measures have been developed, to allow farmers to enhance biodiversity on their land, creating positives for both the farm and the environment, which is the bottom line at the end of the day.’’

Dr Jonathan Bell, Head of Land and Sea Policy at RSPB NI commented,

“This work has been well-received by the dairy industry and farmers, who want to take steps towards managing their farms better for nature. The project has helped identify what is possible, even on our most intensively farmed land; a set of practical actions all dairy farms can take to help turn the tide on nature’s decline. We believe, with the right policy tools and financial support, the dairy industry can become leaders in Nature Positive practises.”

One of the participating farmers, Drew McConnell said,

“Being involved in the whole process has been a game-changer for me. The involvement of RSPB NI and the project partners has given me a real understanding of what's living and growing on my farm and how we can make things better for both our land and wildlife that call it home.”

Drew continues,

“Farmers like us, we're ready to roll up our sleeves and do our part to bring nature back into our farms. But we can't do it alone; we need the government's support to make these changes on a big scale.’’

Read the report and find out more about Nature Positive Dairy here

Pictured L to R: David Stewart, Lakeland Dairies; Ian Stevenson, Dairy Council NI; Neville Graham, Dale Farm and Dr Jonathan Bell, RSPB NI

About RSPB: The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity in England, Wales (no. 207076) and Scotland (no. SC037654). The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations. RSPB NI

About Nature Friendly Farming Network: The Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) is a community of farmers committed to sharing knowledge and practices that support nature conservation and sustainable agriculture. NFFN