The Times, They Are A-Changin'

RSPB and Young Ulster Farmers’ Club look for farmyard memories

It comes as no surprise that the last 40 years have brought about huge changes to agriculture and the fortunes of the people and birds that rely on it. To capture this development, the RSPB and YFCU will be creating a slide show and they need your help to do so.

They are asking people to send in photographs of farm life in Northern Ireland over the last 40 years. These photographs will be interspersed with images of birds like the curlew and pee-weet in order to celebrate the close relationship between wildlife and farming.

The show, which is estimated to be between five and ten minutes long, will be screened for the first time at the RSPB’s annual reception at the Balmoral Show this year. It will then be hosted on the Culture Northern Ireland website.

Lapwing and Hay'The RSPB commemorates its 40th anniversary in Northern Ireland this year,' said Stephanie Sim, RSPB. 'Since we work so closely with the agricultural community, we thought that it would be fantastic to celebrate this by looking at farming over this time, and the birds which rely on farmland to survive.'

Although the story for birds – and people – could be better, Ms Sim also points to the massive steps which have been taken over the past five years where the importance of the environment and the critical role that farmers play in it is being recognised.

Ailish Cullen, YFCU, said, 'We are delighted to be involved in this interesting project to document how farming practices have changed over the past 40 years. We will be hosting the slideshow on our website after its completion so all our members and their families can enjoy it.'

Working with the Young Farmers’ also seemed very appropriate. 'They were so enthusiastic about helping us out with the Big Garden Bird Watch – plus they are the future of farming as well. If both farmer and birds are to have a chance, their role will be critical.'

To lend a hand, please email your scanned pictures to Remember to include your name, farm and location, and the date you think the picture was taken. 'We are also looking for people and animals on the farm, not just nice hedgerows and fields,' said Ms Sim.

CultureNorthernIreland will be providing the technical knowhow and hosting the finished work. 'By hosting the slideshow on our site we hope to show visitors from home and abroad that agriculture and wildlife in Northern Ireland aren’t mutually exclusive,” said David Lewis, Director, Culture Northern Ireland.

'Using digital technology and the Internet is an exciting way of getting the message across, and Young Farmers are as up to date in this regard as anyone else.'

For more information on this, please go to the RSPB’s website, call 028 9069 0843 or call Ailish at YFCU on 028 9037 0713.