Batt Sheehan and his wife Ger run a dairy farm in the Bride valley of county Cork. Despite being situated in an area of highly intensive dairy farming, Batt has always remained conscious of the environmental impacts of his farming system and practices. Since he took over the family farm in the 90s, he has worked hard to create a farm that is economically viable while simultaneously protecting biodiversity on the land.
The farm has been organic since 2005 and about half of farm remains certified organic to this day. Batt milks approximately 55 cows. The grassland includes nitrogen fixing clover swards as well as herbal leys, creating a diverse pasture for his animals to graze and for silage production. There are pockets of mature woodland around the farm and Batt and Ger have continuously planted trees on the land over the years. They built a pond on the farm creating a wetland habitat and they have installed bird and bat boxes. They have sown pollinator strips on the land, creating a food source for their own bees and for other insects. Batt is passionate about managing his hedgerows for biodiversity – he has moved the fencing further back from the hedges around the farm, allowing a wider nature corridor to form and creating additional habitats on the land.
The farm is part of the Bride project which Batt says has provided excellent guidance in terms of protecting nature on the land and further increasing biodiversity on the farm.
Batt farms with his wife Ger and family on his organic dairy farm in Ballynoe in the Bride valley. He is a passionate farmer with an environmental conscience that reflects the way he farms. Despite being in the heart of an intensive farming landscape and being the only organic dairy farm in the Bride valley, Batt has stuck to the task of producing quality milk with a high standard of environmental care while also showcasing the highest standards in animal welfare.
He is one of only 2 farmers in the Bride valley with breeding skylark and yellowhammer on his farm and also the only farmer in the lowland area that has a population of breeding hares. In the initial bird survey carried out in 2018 a Lesser Whitethroat was documented during the breeding season, the first inland breeding record in Ireland and a testament to the way Batt manages his hedgerows for biodiversity.
He has recently taken up beekeeping in an effort to compliment his farm business and improve his farm for pollinators.
As a BRIDE demonstration farm, his farm is used to showcase best practice in farm habitat management and how small improvements can make a huge difference.
He is a member of the local St.Catherines hurling club and is a mentor on the juvenile camogie team while also an active member of the athletics club.
As one of the participants in the BRIDE Project, we are delighted to nominate Batt and Ger as Farming For Nature Ambassadors.
Nominator: Donal Sheehan, Project Manager, The BRIDE Project