James Foley, a native of County Waterford, completed his degree in Agricultural Science at UCD in 2000. Continuing the family tradition, he has been farming full time since. He has established a new family farm focusing on dairying, currently milking 200 cows, but he also has significant experience in tillage and beef. Over the years he has become acutely aware of the threat to his farm’s viability from being a primary producer at the foot of a commodity-milk supply chain. He is now exploring the options to regain his business independence by adding value to his milk and by reducing the farm’s dependence on milk sales.
He has also begun to convert the farm to herbal leys and to significantly broaden the species diversity in his pastures in order to reduce the farm’s need for purchased inputs and to improve animal and financial performance.This species diversity has led James to a greater understanding of his soil biology and the need to feed the soil rather than just the grasses.
The evolution of his own family farm has led to James becoming an advocate for regenerative farming and route to market reform and the need for new government policies to support both.
Nominator: Michael Hickey, FFN Ambassador