I feel Mervyn deserves national recognition for his work in farming for nature because of his great love and admiration for nature. He farms along with his father Robert, highlighting the importance of family in running a successful farm. He is passionate about the conservation of agriculture, is a member of BASE Ireland and St. John's Game and Conservation Club, practices conservation agriculture and keeps bees. He is also an IFA grain committee representative for Co. Roscommon. He runs a mixed farm of cattle, sheep and tillage that joins Lough Ree. The livestock have access to the lake and graze the shoreline which maintains a healthy balance of natural plants. For approximately the last ten years, slurry has been spread using a low emission system on more intensively farmed land. For the last five years, the crops, namely barley, oats and beans, have all been established using a low disturbance strip till system. The plough is not used leading to enhanced soil structure and soil health which in turn reduces leaching and soil erosion. This also greatly reduces carbon release from the soil. Mervyn is an innovative farmer and enjoys finding new ways to help nature to help his farming. For instance, some wildflower margins were planted but natural boundaries are recognised as beneficial. In addition, sprays are not used in hedgerow management which is also important and beneficial for nature. Finally, Mervyn is a very approachable farmer and he is always willing to share his knowledge with local farmers and students studying Agricultural Science, this is promoting farming for nature to future farmers.
Nominator: Padraig Corcoran, Farming For Nature Ambassador 2018