The Shackleton Family

The Shackleton family farm 320-acres and have been providing organic grass-fed beef and lamb to their customer since 1996. Grazing traditional breeds Aberdeen Angus and Belted Galloway occurs on 60ha of the farm. The farm also has 5ha of semi-natural habitats including bogs, wetland (Mullagh Lake), woodland, hedgerows, hay meadows and stonewalls, all of which are managed by owners who have qualifications in ecology, landscape design and environmental management. New habitats have been created, such as a 20ha mixed conifer and hardwood woodland which is managed as agroforestry; hedgerows and an ornamental garden which supports a varied bird population. The farm has a traditional orchard, bee hive and is self-sufficient in vegetables. Monitoring of birds and insects for Biodiversity Ireland is ongoing. The farm is also open for farm walks for IOGFA, Bord Bia and others. A boardwalk and birdwatching hide have been constructed along the lake edge. A publicly assessable nature walk passes through the farm and the explanatory information panel along this route in the farm is curated by the owners. The Shackletons are fully committed to their approach to farming and enthusiastic to share this knowledge and experience online, with groups, the local community and schools. They believe “Farming extensively is the future, it is better for the bank, the life balance, the herd and most importantly the wildlife”.

NOMINATION DESCRIPTION
Farm is a commercial beef and sheep enterprise producing grass fed organic beef and lamb since 1996. Grazing by traditional breeds Aberdeen Angus and Belted Galloway occurs on 60ha. The farm has 5ha of semi-natural habitats including bogs, wetland (Mullagh Lake), woodland, hedgerows, hay meadows and stonewalls, all of which are managed by owners who have qualifications in ecology, landscape design and environmental management. New habitats have been created, such as a 20ha mixed conifer and hardwood woodland which is managed as agroforestry; hedgerows and an ornamental garden which supports a varied bird population. The farm has a traditional orchard, bee hive and is self sufficient in vegetables. Owners have shared their experience through social media, Twitter, Instagram, contributing to national discussion through radio and television programmes and through farm walks for Irish Organic Association, Bord Bia and others. Monitoring of environmental quality has taken place through recording flora and fauna on farm, garden and lake, Lepidoptera since 2011, Lake bird count since 2004, contributing to Bird Counts and I-WeBS. A boardwalk and birdwatching hide have been constructed along the lake edge. A publicly assessable nature walk passes through the farm and the explanatory information panel along this route in the farm is curated by the owners. The family are active members of the IOA (membership of council) and IFA (local officer). They have been involved in particular local development initiatives concerned with ecology and have assisted with landscaping for the local Primary School, tree planting, to benefit local wildlife and ecology.
Nominator: Mary Tubridy, Research Officer and Board Member, Irish Uplands Forum

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