The Farming for Nature (FFN) project is delighted to welcome Tipperary farmer, Maurice Deasy to their growing Ambassador network.
I am delighted to be a FFN ambassador as a recognition of the flora and fauna on the farm that has been given space to flourish. Equally I am delighted to share the practical information that farming can produce food and take care of nature at the same time. Too many people view food production and profitability as opposing forces to nature and ecosystem services however there are approaches where both can be achieved in harmony.
This is the story that I am excited to share with as many people as possible as too many people believe that all farming is detrimental to the environment, there are ways to care for the environment and nature, reducing financial risk and emotional burden on the farmer.
If a handful of people are inspired to try a different approach to farming, or view farming as a possibility of having a positive effect on the environment and the food we produce, then being a FFN ambassador would be a huge success for me! Maurice Deasy.
Maurice Deasy farms in partnership with his father Ruaidhri in northwest Tipperary. The 120-acre mixed farm is a sheep and tillage operation. Crops grown include winter barley and oats, spring barley, malting barley and beans. In recent years these farmers have been implementing the principles of conservation agriculture on their land – direct drilling, crop rotation and cover cropping. This work is being done to regenerate and protect the soil biology. Maurice has been growing heritage Irish grains to preserve their genetic diversity and maintain their heritage. While these grains are lower yielding, their larger root systems provide crucial disease and drought resistance. “The heritage grains give a better flavour to the finished beer product. I have found they also have higher disease resistance.” The heritage grains are processed and malted on-site and made into a single-source farmhouse beer. Maurice is also experimenting with biological seed coatings made from biochar and seaweed to reduce inputs and adopt more natural farming processes. There are 80 breeding ewes on the farm. Some of the grassland is permanent pasture and Maurice is reseeding some of the pasture with multispecies swards. There is approximately 20 acres of mixed woodland on the farm which attracts lots of birds to the land. Hedgerows are managed for biodiversity and act as nature corridors running throughout the land. There is an area of wet/boggy land which has been fenced off and left for biodiversity. A river runs through the farm and there is a pond on the land. On the farm there are deer, woodcock, snipe, pheasant, kingfisher and otter.
More information on Maurice’s farm and a video link to his Q&A session 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. Maurice is 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.