Pat Lalor has been working on the family farm all his life and 20 years ago he converted to organic farming. Initially the move was for economic reasons and Pat describes the move to organic as being like starting farming from scratch. Pat describes organic farming as working with respect for the soil and he is totally commitment to this practice; using farmyard manure from his cattle to grow clover, cereal and grass on rotation. Ballard farm is certified by Organic Trust Ltd. and farming organically has had a positive impact on nature in the area.
Other means of farming for nature at Ballard include the use of a windmill and solar panels to generate electricity.
Ballard sell their produce under the label 'Kilbeggan Organic Foods' and their range includes the award-winning Kilbeggan Porridge, porridge bread mix and handmade oat biscuits. This side of the business involves Pat's wife and children and their products are available in retail outlets and on-line.
Pat is an advocate for organic farming. He operated an open farm for 20 years, welcoming school groups, agricultural students and interested members of the public, always willing to share his knowledge and experience of organic farming. His website is another means by which he advocates organic farming and helps to explain principles to people from many backgrounds: http://www.ballardorganicfarm.ie/about2.htm Pat is not stranger to radio discussions and print media.
Nominator: Melanie McQuade, Heritage Office, Westmeath County Council