Cookstown, County Tyrone

Farm Advisor - Ballinderry Rivers Trust

Paul Coulson | September 20th 2020


Liaising with landowners in the Upper Ballinderry River SAC catchment to undertake water management planning on farms and administer Ballinderry Rivers Trust’s Water-friendly Farming Scheme.


Full-time (37.5 hours per week); Fixed-term contract (initially for 7 months – ending 31st March 2021) with possibility of extension/permanent-post subject to funding

Ballinderry Rivers Trust (BRT) is an environmental charity (charity number NIC103694) dedicated to the conservation and protection of the Ballinderry River, the western-shore rivers and streams of Lough Neagh and Lough Neagh itself.

Our focus is on engaging the local community in the protection of the area’s threatened freshwater species and habitats, improving water quality, and educating the public on the importance of a healthy freshwater environment for all.


Ballinderry River LINC Project (Landscape-scale Initiatives for Nature Conservation) is an ambitious strategic environmental project, delivering catchment-scale actions to protect the Upper Ballinderry River Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI); as well as contributing to improving water quality in sub-catchments with Water Framework Directive (WFD) failures and deteriorations.

This role is suitable for an experienced and enthusiastic farm advisor to deliver a programme of works aimed at reducing and avoiding diffuse and point-source pollution from farms in the Upper Ballinderry River SAC/ASSI and Aghaveagh sub-catchments.

The post-holder will deliver a programme of one-to-one farm visits to promote resource protection and a reduction in diffuse and point-source water pollution from agriculture, through the production of bespoke Water Environment Management Plans and delivery of capital intervention works through the Trust’s Water-friendly Farming Scheme.

The post-holder will aim to raise awareness, improve understanding and acceptance amongst farmers and land managers of diffuse and point-source pollution from agriculture and its impact on water quality and the wider water environment.

Engagement with farmers in targeted areas of the Upper Ballinderry River SAC/ASSI and Aghaveagh sub-catchments will seek to create, through a voluntary approach, a sense of ownership and achievement within the farming community in relation to water quality in the catchment.

This is an opportunity to be at the heart of a growing, dynamic, and enthusiastic team and your role will be essential to the growth and development of the Trust to make a real difference to the environment.

This post is funded by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, an agency within the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, through the Environment Fund.


  • Work with farmers to find opportunities to improve infrastructure and change land management practices, underpinned by a need to reduce diffuse and point source agricultural pollution to surface water.
  • Undertake non-regulatory farm advice visits and identify runoff sources, pathways and receptors.
  • Prepare a series of Farm Water and Environment Management Plans, including Soil Nutrient Management Plans and Rush Control Plans where necessary, supported by field-scale maps.
  • Liaise with partner organisations and Government Agencies to inform farm infrastructure improvements.
  • Support farmers and encourage them to undertake a series of measures to reduce soil and nutrient loss.
  • Provide practical advice on soil and nutrient management and follow this up with multiple visits to increase the likelihood of behavioural change and environmental improvement.
  • Undertake on-farm soil sampling at selected sites and liaise with contracted soil testing laboratories and farmers.
  • Co-ordinate, deliver and participate in events to help with the promotion and awareness raising of the core messages and schemes of the programme.
  • Coordinate and grow a farmer discussion group linked to the UK Farmer Group Discussion Network.
  • Administer and verify scheme activity within the Trust’s Water-friendly Farming Scheme.
  • Signpost farmers and landowners to relevant external funding sources or specialist advice.
  • Maintain simple system of evaluation and feedback from farmers and land managers.
  • Through the work above, support landowners in satisfying cross-compliance, CoGAP and the SSAFO Regulations.
  • Promote joined up thinking in the catchment through effective communication with other delivery officers, including DAERA, NI Environment Agency, AFBI, CAFRE etc.
  • Contribute to 3 monthly project reporting schedules.
  • Contribute to the identification and securing of additional funding for this project.
  • Carry out all duties and responsibilities with reasonable care for the health and safety of oneself and any other persons and co-operate fully with the Ballinderry Rivers Trust in health and safety matters.
  • Some of this work may be required to be performed out of normal office hours.


Essential Knowledge and Experience

  • Degree or equivalent agricultural and/or environmental qualification


  • 3 years’ experience in land management/agricultural advisory role;
  • Knowledge of agriculture;
  • In-depth knowledge and understanding of farm infrastructure;
  • Experience of environmental legislation relating to the farmed environment and agricultural land management;
  • A thorough understanding of agricultural systems and the agricultural calendar;
  • Experience of advising on soil and nutrient management;
  • Understanding and experience of using GIS, geodatabases to record and interrogate outputs;
  • Experience of delivering projects on time, to budget and in line with agreed outputs and outcomes;
  • Computer literate in all basic software packages (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook);
  • Must have a full driving licence and use of own vehicle, insured for business use;
  • Experience in producing and using Risk Assessments and Lone-working procedures.

Desirable Experience & Knowledge

  • Knowledge of designated site protection, status and assessments;
  • Knowledge of freshwater ecosystems;
  • Previous experience in delivering conservation projects in an agricultural setting;
  • Agricultural business management and planning;
  • BASIS Soil and Water qualification;
  • FACTS qualification
  • Knowledge of pesticide products, sustainable crop protection and integrated pest management;
  • Experience of advising upon Environmental Farming Scheme and/or other agri-environmental scheme applications;


  • Excellent communicator with proven track record in developing strong working relationships with farmers, landowners and other stakeholders;
  • Ability to provide clear, concise written material in a variety of formats for a variety of audiences;
  • Strong at diplomacy and negotiation;
  • Excellent time management and the ability to prioritise a varied workload;
  • An ability to work with minimal supervision.
  • Reliable, positive attitude and work ethic.
  • Team player, willingness to work with others and share best practice.
  • Pro-active attitude towards meeting and exceeding goals.
  • Approachable, professional, trustworthy.
  • Innovative, adaptable, practical.
  • Shares and promote success, acknowledges failures and seeks solutions to improve.
  • Supports and promotes the Ballinderry Rivers Trust ethos


Please email a CV (two pages max) and a covering letter (two pages max) focusing on your relevant experience and what you will bring to the role and to Ballinderry Rivers Trust, to [email protected].

Closing date: Friday 21st August 2020 at 4:30pm.
Interview date: Thursday 27th or Friday 28th August 2020