Approximately half of the NIA is under agricultural management, with cultivation of cereal crops dominating extensive areas of ploughed, drained former marshland to produce wheat and barley. Traditional wet pasture is grazed with sheep and cattle and more mixed agriculture occurs on higher ground.
Estuarine waters support an important commercial fishing industry including shellfish.
Bees and other flower-visiting insects are vital for the pollination of flowering crops and contribute an estimated £603 million per year to UK agriculture – two thirds of this service is reliant upon wild pollinators (Pollinators Expert Advisory Group).
Economic, productivity and biodiversity objectives can be better integrated as part of agricultural stewardship schemes. Our NIA Farm Conservation Adviser has worked to help landowners maximise returns from these schemes, with a focus on breeding wader productivity, working in partnership to add value to ongoing initiatives.