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Tirlán FarmLife targets over 450,000 native trees and hedgerows by 2025

Irish Hedgerow
Blackthorn hedge

Tirlán has donated 10,000 native Irish trees to its farm family suppliers, customers, and community groups



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1 December 2022

Tirlán FarmLife and its family farm suppliers have set an ambitious new target of delivering 450,000 native trees and hedgerow plants to enhance the Irish countryside through the Operation Biodiversity programme.

Just last year, the initiative from Tirlán, the farmer-owned co-operative formerly known as Glanbia Ireland, reached its original 100,000 tree and hedgerow target twelve months ahead of schedule.

To celebrate, it donated 10,000 native Irish trees to its farm family suppliers, customers, and community groups. Similar free tree donations are now planned as each annual target between now and 2025 is met.

John Murphy, chairman of Tirlán, attributes the success of the programme to the enthusiasm and willingness of farm families to work to enhance and protect the land for themselves and the generations to come.

“Operation Biodiversity has helped enrich our landscape and provide much-needed food and shelter for our native wildlife since its launch in 2020. Every native Irish tree and hedgerow planted builds on the ongoing biodiversity work that farm families are already doing as custodians of the land,” Murphy said.

“As part of our partnership approach, we are pledging to work with our suppliers to build on our initial target of over 100,000 trees and hedging plants to deliver 450,000 trees and hedgerow plants by 2025. This initiative is just one of many actions we are undertaking across our co-operative. We have set out an ambitious series of targets as part of our comprehensive sustainability programme, Living Proof.”

Seán Molloy, chief ingredients & agri officer at Tirlán, said: “We reached our original 100,000 target in record time. This shows the clear and unequivocal momentum behind our Living Proof sustainability strategy and the appetite for biodiversity and climate action on family farms and in the community.

“We’re proud of what we have achieved to date and look forward to working with our suppliers and in our communities to reach these new targets, which also align with the increased environmental ambitions of the next CAP from 2023 onwards.”

Sustainability Action Payment

Tirlán recently launched an €18 million a year Sustainability Action Payment to assist its dairy suppliers in adopting a range of actions to enhance the environmental and economic sustainability of its network of family farms.

The bundles of trees and hedging plants purchased as part of Operation Biodiversity count as actions towards securing the valuable Sustainability Action Payment bonus for dairy suppliers, which is worth on average €3,000 a year. Suppliers are now asked to log-on to their Tirlán

FarmLife account and declare at least seven sustainability actions delivered on their farms this year, to continue to receive the 0.5c/ltr in 2023.

Specially-selected planting packages

As the tree and hedgerow planting season opens, horticulturists and employees in their 52 local Tirlán stores, including its 14 Tirlán CountryLife Garden Centres, are helping farm families pick the right hedging plants and trees for their individual farms, providing shelter and food for wildlife while also boosting their sustainability credentials.

To help drive this initiative Tirlán FarmLife has committed to deliver excellent value, including low-cost bundles, along with providing horticultural expertise to help guide on selection of trees and hedging, and planting.

Through Operation Biodiversity the excellent value bundles include a hedging mix of native Irish hedgerow plants specially selected by Tirlán FarmLife horticulturalists. Each bundle includes Blackthorn, Whitethorn, Hazel and Alder and covers approximate 12 metres of hedging.

The specially selected, rich species tree bundle includes a mix of birch, alder, oak and mountain ash trees. Both packages are available through the Tirlán FarmLife network of branches and Tirlán CountryLife garden centres.

“There’s space for nature on every farm and I’d encourage farmers to talk to our team of experienced horticulturalists and discuss the best tree and hedgerow options to boost biodiversity on their farms. Every tree planted makes a difference,” added Murphy.

Alan Poole, Operation Biodiversity champion and Tirlán milk supplier said: “There has always been a huge appetite among farmers for initiatives like Operation Biodiversity. Farmers are improving farmyards, planting native Irish trees and hedgerows and working with nature every day. There is even more momentum behind planting trees and hedgerows now as Irish farmers know they set us apart from farms anywhere in the world.”

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