About the Network

The Rural Network for Northern Ireland seeks to support anyone who lives or works in rural areas of Northern Ireland and has an interest in rural development.


Aim of the Network

The Rural Network for Northern Ireland aims to enhance networking amongst farmers, rural dwellers and businesses, researchers, environmentalists and other rural bodies and organisations. It aims to achieve this through:

  • Increasing the involvement in the implementation of rural development;
  • Improving the quality of implementation of rural development programmes;
  • Informing the broader public and potential beneficiaries on rural development policy and funding opportunities;
  • Fostering innovation in agriculture, food production, forestry and rural areas. 


Network Activities

The main activities of the Network include:

  • Enhancing communications and sharing practice from all aspects of the Rural Development Programme;
  • Facilitating thematic working and involving rural development stakeholders, sharing and disseminating findings;
  • Provision of support to Local Action Groups through training and networking opportunities and in particular support to co-operation initiatives;
  • Provision of networking for advisors and innovation support services;
  • Engaging with the UK, Ireland, and Europe to enhance delivery of projects and programmes locally;
  • Provision of support services in relation to rural proofing and rural champion.


Membership of the Rural Network

Membership of the Rural Network is free and open to anyone who wishes to become involved in rural development. Click to find out about membership benefits and SIGN UP for free.


Network Support Unit

A Network Support Unit (NSU) delivered by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) provides the structure needed for running the Network and its activities. This brings together the knowledge and skills of the Managing Authority and scheme leads within DAERA.

The NSU is responsible for the delivery of the core administrative and technical functions to include:

  • Network Administration and Management;
  • Communications and dissemination of information;
  • Training;
  • Innovation and cooperation;
  • Input to advise DAERA on Policy Development:
  • Engagement with other Networks.

The NSU is managed by a Network Steering Group, the purpose of which is to engage with the Network, and develop and guide its workplan of activities. The Network Steering Group has representation from DAERA combined with representatives from each of the three objectives of the Rural Development Programme:

  • Agri Food and Farming
  • Agri environment and Forestry
  • Rural Economic and Community Development


Networking beyond Northern Ireland

The Rural Network for Northern Ireland is one of 4 regional Networks within the UK and collectively these Networks form the UK National Rural Network. A regular exchange of information and co-ordination among each of the regional networks is in place to ensure consistency, create synergies and avoid duplications.

For more information on each of the other UK regions please follow the links:

Rural Development Programme for England Network
Scottish Rural Network
Wales Rural Network

The Rural Network for Northern Ireland has also established a close working relationship with the Ireland National Rural Network