The Farming for Nature (FFN) project is delighted to welcome Laois farmer, Bruce Thompson to their growing Ambassador network.
“Being awarded a Farming For Nature Ambassadorship is a deeply gratifying award. It reaffirms to me that nature-friendly, sustainable practices can be integrated in to a KPI-driven business framework delivering economic, stewardship and social goals. This recognition encourages me to continue innovating and advocating for eco-conscious methods in an evolving agricultural landscape” Bruce Thompson on being awarded the role of an Ambassador.
Bruce Thompson runs dairy farm in Ballyfin County Laois. He is an 8th generation farmer. The farm which was traditionally a mixed farm is now a commercial dairy farm with a herd of 320 cows. In line with the Teagasc dairy roadmap, Bruce operates a grass based, high efficiency production system. With a young family, Bruce maintains that his farm has to be economically viable, and he is proud to currently employ 2 fulltime staff members on his farm.
In 2020, Bruce started a Nuffield Scholarship and from this he developed a passion for dung beetles. On his own farm he has a particular interest in reducing animal remedies through prevention, with a focus on animal wormers. He has made dramatic reductions in his wormer usage by making use of his farm microscope for diagnosis and pioneering new grazing strategies. Bruce is a strong advocate in the farming community for the urgent need to protect our dung beetle populations. He has started an EIP which is focusing on a targeted and selective approach to animal wormers in order to protect and increase dung beetle populations on the land. Bruce also successfully breeds dung beetles on his farm. Other nature actions taken on his farm include managing hedgerows for biodiversity, planting additional hedgerows and incorporating multi-species swards into his grassland.
Bruce believes more focus must be paid to the integration of ecology and agriculture. He is confident that food production and environmental protection can and must happen simultaneously.
If you want to hear more from Bruce join us at his live Ask the Farmer Q&A next Tuesday evening on Zoom. Just register here
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. Bruce is part of 2023’s ten ambassadors that come from across Ireland and include beef, sheep, goats, horses, 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 now 91 people strong and made up of family farms, couples, and both male and female farmers.
The Farming for Nature Awards 2023 were 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.