Thomas Stack is a dairy farmer from Co. Limerick. Having taken over the family farm in 2012 and farming conventionally for a few years, he decided something had to change. He embarked on an ambitious journey to transform his farm into a system that is resilient to environmental and financial shocks. Thomas transitioned to organic farming in 2018 and since then he has adopted the Korean Natural Farming method. This regenerative approach uses indigenous microorganisms (IMO) to create fertile soils that produce a high output without the use of synthetic fertilizer, herbicides or pesticides. “You can’t see these microbes. The only way you can see them is under the microscope and they’re the most powerful thing in the world...to see how they have transformed my farm in a year and a half – it’s mind-blowing.” Thomas creates IMO solutions that are highly rich in nutrients and enzymes, he sprays these solutions on the land, working in tune with the nutrient cycle of the plants. Thomas milks 60 dairy cows on virtually no external inputs. His cows are entirely grass-fed and he produces high quality organic milk. He creates his own nutritional supplements for his animals using only natural inputs and processes. “I use the land and nature to produce all my inputs on the farm and to enhance the soil biology". Having a huge interest in nature, Thomas has planted over 1000 native trees on the land already and has plans to plant many more trees to support biodiversity and encourage more wildlife back to the farm. He regularly hosts farm visits for those interested in learning more about this dynamic farming system.
Nomination Description 1:
I first met Tom Stack at the Biofarm conference in 2018 when he was gathering information before embarking on a journey into Organic and Regenerative agriculture. Since then, Tom has blazed a trail with enthusiasm, cutting out harmful inputs and restoring soil health with the help of Korean Natural farming. Korean Natural farming is a regenerative approach to dealing with our farms, harnessing indigenous micro-organisms to improve the health of soil and subsequently all the plants and animals and people who depend on soil.
Tom milks 60 dairy on practically no external inputs and is already reaping the benefits with healthier and happier cows and a system that is more resilient to environmental and financial shocks not to mention the more relaxed pace that allows him spend more time with his young family.
Tom is also enthusiastically adopting agroforestry, planting many native trees all around the farm and showing great courage and open mindedness in walking a path towards a new more conscious and equitable way of farming, as opposed to the old exploititive system that was becoming increasingly complex and more focused on feeding middlemen than the communities whose health depends on how we treat our soils.
Tom welcomes many visitors to his farm, sharing his knowledge on the procedures of brewing up many different microbial ferments that can help restore balance to our soil. Tom travelled to the US in 2019 to study with Chris Trump, one of the pioneers of Korean Natural Farming on a larger scale and his honest desire to see positive change and his straight talking nature would make him and excellent canditate to be involved in the farming for nature programme.
Nominator: John McHugh, FFN Ambassador
Tom Stack is a young man who is organic dairy farming on his family farm in Ballyagran Co. Limerick. Tom farms on the edge of a small rural tight knit community in South Limerick. Tom is seriously committed to protection and enhancement of the soil and biodiversity on his farm. Tom practices Korean Natural Farming methods on his farm to enhance soil life, fertility and structure on his farm. Tom's primary target is to produce a high quality organic milk through careful soil management and incredibly high standards of animal welfare. Tom is dedicated to this method of farming and is also extremely environmentally aware regarding the carbon footprint of the farm through use of machinery and this is kept to a minimum. Tom ensures cows are kept happy by allowing the stock to live through natural behavioral patterns with more than adequate space to roam, graze and live in when indoors. Overall I feel Tom Stack would be an excellent Farming for Nature ambassador.
Nominator: Matthew McInerney, Inspector, Irish Organic Association