The Farming for Nature (FFN) project is delighted to welcome Roscommon farmer Andrew Chilton to their growing Ambassador network.
Andrew Chilton manages two farms in Co Roscommon alongside his family. The first farm is 6 ha of marginal land and is certified organic. An advocate for diversity on farms, there is a mix of animals kept on this farm including a small herd of Dexters and at different times there are pigs, goats, sheep and chickens. They grow vegetables for the home and there is an apple and plum orchard on the farm as well. Andrew has trialled different methods of agroforestry on this land including planting field corners and nature corridors, and block planting. He plants between 50-100 trees on the land every year. Andrew has dug 2 ponds on the land which has attracted many insects and birds to the land – “There is tremendous birdlife on the land, we have counted over 30 different bird species on the farm.”
The second farm borders Lough Key and is surrounded by woodland. A herd of 52 alpacas are kept on this farm and Andrew produces alpaca fleece which is processed in the UK and the finished pillow and duvet products are sold directly from the farm. They also run farm tours and alpaca trekking. All of the animals are on a rotational grazing system and overwinter outdoors. Andrew has been increasing the diversity of grass species in the pasture in recent years. There is also an apiary on the farm and honey is sold commercially. Andrew works with Social Farming Ireland and teaches the NOTS Organic Production Principles Course. He is also a farm advisor/planner.
If you want to hear more from Andrew and his farming practices, join his online Q&A on the 22nd November 2022 8pm. Register for this and other upcoming FFN Q&A sessions here.
Now in its fifth year, Farming For Nature was set up with an aim to source, share and celebrate the stories of farmers across Ireland who manage their land in a way that sustains nature, while providing a livelihood for their family. Andrew is part of this year’s 15 Ambassadors that come from across Ireland and include beef, sheep, forestry, dairy, horticulture and tillage farmers who manage a wide range of very valuable habitats including species-rich grasslands and heaths, wetlands, woodlands, uplands and hedgerows. The Farming For Nature ambassador network is made up of family farms, couples, and both male and female farmers.
FFN is featuring these Ambassador farmers on a monthly basis until August 2023. Keep an eye on FFN’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter platforms to learn more about these wonderful farmers and the valuable work they are doing for nature on their land. FFN will work with these inspiring ambassadors to produce farm videos, podcasts, ‘Ask the Farmer’ sessions, farm walks and more. Go to www.farmingfornature.ie
to learn about this incredible network of Ambassador farmers and to access further information, resources and tips.
The Farming for Nature Awards are sponsored by Bord Bia and supported by a wide range of farming and conservation interests including the Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the National Rural Network.
If you are interested to learn more about his farm – sign up for his Q&A session on the 22nd November here