Mark Harold Barry
Mark Harold-Barry runs a mixed organic farm outside Tipperary Town. The 170-acre farm has been certified organic for almost 20 years. Mark grows organic oats for Flahavans and for winter feeding for his stock, he also grows seed oats for Gold Crop. There is about 90 acres of grassland on the farm, which is a mixture of permanent pasture and multispecies swards. Mark keeps a suckler herd of about 25 Aberdeen Angus/Hereford cattle and all of the animals are finished on the farm. He also keeps about 20 hives of honeybees, and the honey is sold locally in Tipperary. The family manage a kitchen garden on the farm and are relatively self-sufficient during the summer months. The farm is extensively managed and external inputs are minimal.
There is about 40acres of woodland on the farm – a mix of hardwood and softwood trees, some very mature and some much younger. Mark follows in this father's footsteps and continuously plants trees on the land – "My father is a great man and he has a policy of planting about half an acre of trees on the farm every year since he came here." The woodland provides a wonderful habitat for wildlife. There is a river running through the farm and a pond on the land which attract birds such as the kingfisher, ducks and snipe. Ditches, hedgerows and field margins provide thick nature corridors throughout the land. Mark is proud to run a productive farm, all the while leaving plenty of space for wildlife and biodiversity to thrive.
Mark operates a mixed organic farm just outside of Tipperary Town in Co. Tipperary. Mark has been farming organically for many years now and each year he builds on his resources to enhance and encourage nature to thrive. His grows organic cereals mainly oats which are sold for human consumption. He also has cattle and they have access to the extensive land area on the farm. Forestry composes an important aspect of the the farm with Mark continuing the tradition of tree planting started by his father many years ago. The farm is a haven for wildlife and many species are evident around the farm. An avid bee keeper Mark has an apiary on the farm and he sells the honey in local shops. This mixed farm demonstrates the benefits of this systems of farming in which animals, crops and the soil are all mutually dependent. Very few inputs are imported onto the farm with the fertility and nutrients sourced on farm. This low input method of farming makes the farm more resilient in environmental and economic terms. This farm is a wonderful example of long term organic farming and how it works in tandem with the natural environment.
Nominator: Grace Maher, Development Officer, Irish Organic Association