“Every Farm is a home not just for the family the animals and crops but also a place where nature is nurtured and thrives and benefits our ecosystems” Michael McManus
The Farming for Nature (FFN) project is delighted to welcome Leitrim farmer, Michael McManus to their growing Ambassador network.
Michael McManus hails from county Leitrim where he farms a suckler herd over 180 acres. The organic farm is comprised of 3 distinct areas. The first is described as ‘rocky outcrop’ land, the second is ‘sandy loam’ land and the third he describes as a ‘shale type’ land. All three of these distinct areas contain their own rich variety of grasses and vegetation. Michael operates a rotational grazing system, whereby the animals are moved from one area to the next throughout the year. They are moved in accordance with the stage of growth they are at or whether they have calves on them at the time – “I firmly believe that having different plant types for cattle to graze on provides them with a wide range of minerals and nutrients. I think cattle have natural curiosity that needs to be satisfied – they enjoy grazing different areas that have different types of vegetation.” The natural meadows have not been reseeded and provide great biodiversity on the farm. “The grazing of this type of land with cattle helps promote the natural vegetation here. The only management of the land is the cattle grazing, then letting the grasses and flowers grow (buttercup, rushes, meadowsweet and so on) then cutting the meadow for hay/silage later in the summer.” The cattle overwinter outdoors where they are supplemented with some meal and hay/silage. Michael is interested in agroforestry, permaculture and preserving traditional methods of farming. He values nature, heritage and biodiversity on his farm.
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. Michael 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 August 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.