“When the red clover is in flower, you can hear it before you see it – because of the amount of bees it attracts” says James Breslin
The Farming for Nature (FFN) project is delighted to welcome Donegal farmer, James Breslin to their growing Ambassador network.
James Breslin, an Inishowen hill farmer, runs a suckler and sheep farm in Donegal. He has reintroduced Galloway cattle to his farm as he feels their hardy nature is well suited to the mountainous conditions of the land. “The Galloways work will with the sheep as they like to graze the taller grasses and the sheep like to graze the lower grasses.” Many of the animal’s live outdoors year-round, feeding on pasture and natural mountain vegetation during the summer months, and hay/silage during the winter. The animals are thriving in this systema and it reduces farm inputs like feed and fertilizer. James has resown some of the farmland with red clover swards and multi-species grass swards, further reducing the need for nitrogen fertilizer and increasing biodiversity on the farm – “when the red clover is in flower, you can hear it before you see it – because of the amount of bees it attracts”. These diverse swards help build soil fertility and improve soil structure. James has planted hundreds of native trees and continues to plant trees on his farm to create ‘green barns’ which serve as shelter for the animals while outdoors. He has dug 2 ponds on the farm to create a water habitat and encourage further biodiversity. He plans to create a riparian zone by planting trees along the riverbank to protect river water. A member of the of the Operational Group of the Inishowen EIP, James welcomes visitors to his farm to learn more about his farming system.
Now in its fourth 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. James is part of this year’s 23 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 Ambassadors on a bi-monthly basis until June 2022. 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.