This week I began my results. This project is primarily based on interviews and surveys. Because of this, the results of my project will mostly contain answers from interviews and surveys. The answers given by James Moran will be used as results. As well as his answers to direct questions, quotes will also be used as part of the Results. In order to get all relevant information, the interview had to be listened to multiple times to extract the correct information.
Next week, I am scheduled to meet with Brendan Dunford so I will keep revising his interview questions. As well as meeting with Brendan, I will also meet Cathal O’Donoghue in NUIG. Cathal is working directly with the Farm ECOS project. This will give further information on how these schemes are designed and what he thinks is the most efficient design in an environmental scheme.
This week, I travelled to GMIT to meet James Moran. James had previously worked on numerous environmental schemes such as GLAS, REPS, RBAPS and the Burren Project. This meant he had experience on both action-based and results-based schemes. Before starting the interview with James, we went through my survey which I had prepared for the farmers participating in the Burren Programme. I used his feedback to make a few changes to the survey so that it appeared more ‘farmer friendly’.
I also met with an NUIG undergrad student, Louise, who will be doing work experience in Teagasc. Hopefully, Louise will be joining me in distributing these surveys in the Burren.
This week was great to give me more experience in interviews before meeting more interviewees in the coming weeks.
This week was spent mostly contacting potential
interviewees. As my project is primarily based on interviews, this was very
important to get organised. I contacted Brendan Dunford, leader of Burren
Programme, and Una Fitzpatrick and Jane Stout. All three have a background
focused on biodiversity in Ireland. These interviews will hopefully give me an
insight into how schemes have helped biodiversity and what direction they think
these schemes should now move in.
I also contacted James Moran, a lecturer in
GMIT. James has worked on GLAS, REPS, RBAPS, and even the Burren Project. An
interview was scheduled with him for the following week. In preparation for this
interview, I spent the week researching his past and present work and preparing
questions which focused on his personal experience working on these schemes.
During week 3, I carried out research on the current agri schemes that we have here in Ireland. I began looking at the CAP reform and how this put a greater focus on biodiversity and farmland conservation.
I also visited a family farm and had a brief discussion with the head farmer to see what his thoughts were on these schemes. He has taken part in REPS before and was now taking advice from Teagasc to help increase biodiversity on his farm. All in all, he had a positive attitude towards these schemes.
This week I began my research into past schemes and how they have been designed. I read a detailed review on REPS regarding their success and failures. Many of their failures could be directly linked to the design on their schemes. This gave an interesting look into how the design of a scheme has a direct impact on the outcome.
I also attended the Agri Career Fair in the RDS Dublin. This was a great opportunity to meet people from different agricultural backgrounds and discuss my project with them.
This week gave me time to become familiar with my project. My thesis will be based around policies regarding conversational farming. To understand the importance of these policies, I began researching the need for biodiversity and how we have lost so much of it already, at both a global and national scale. Biodiversity provides ‘ecosystem services’ meaning it is valuable to the environment and to humans. Therefore, these policies are becoming more and more important to protect biodiversity.
Next week, I will become familiar with the design of such schemes and examine cases where schemes have been successful and unsuccessful.