The Farming for Nature (FFN) project is delighted to welcome Cork farmers, Paul McCormick and Jacinta French to their growing Ambassador network.
Every day bring new things on our farm to see; birds, plants, animals, insects, fungi. There is always something to discover when you open your eyes to the different forms of nature on your farm, and always ways of creating new places for nature to thrive. Farming For Nature has shown us we are not alone in trying to encourage nature to thrive and increase, says Paul McCormick and Jacinta French.
Paul and Jacinta run a 30-acre mixed farm near Skibbereen County Cork. There is about 16 acres of grassland and 14 acres of mixed woodland on the farm. Some of the woodland is mature with old native trees and other parts were planted by Paul and Jacinta over the years. Having previously run a tree nursery, they experiment with different trees such as cobnut, chestnut, walnut and heartnut trees. They breed a small herd of Droimeann cattle, producing high quality beef that is sold direct to neighbours and friends. Interested in agroforestry, Paul has spent a number of years converting parts of the woodland to a pasture-based wood. Meaning the animals graze the woodland during the summer and autumn season, but in the spring the woodland is left to give spring flowers the opportunity to bloom. Paul and Jacinta are also working hard to re-diversify the grassland as much as possible. One way they are doing this is by feeding a specifically selected multi-species hay to the cattle over the summer months, in the hope that the cattle will help to reintroduce these different grass species back into the seedbank of the soil. Paul and Jacinta take deep consideration for biodiversity and wildlife with every decision they make on the land. There are a few ponds on the land and a river also flows through the farm. Other valuable habitats include the permanent pasture, woodland, a riparian zone along the riverfront and areas of rewilded land. They are delighted to witness the return of bird species like the tree creeper, the red pole, the goldcrest and buzzards to the farm.
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. Paul and Jacinta are part of 2022’s fifteen 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 and hedgerows. The Farming For Nature ambassador network is made up of family farms, couples, and both male and female farmers.
FFN is featuring their newly awarded Ambassadors on a monthly basis until summer 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.
For more information on their farm go here
To book their farm walk here