Below are a series of videos with inspiring farmers that we have met since 2018 from across Ireland. Each video is approximately 5 mins long and a story of how these farmers and their families are working to enhance nature on their farms.
Andrew Bergin farms 320 acres of tillage. He has been practicing no-till cereals for a good number of years, while managing the soil in a way to promote high levels of biological benefits. More information on Andrew’s farm here.
Boyd and his wife Bride run a 350-acre farm on Inch Island, Co. Donegal. The farm is a mix of arable areas, sheep pastures and woodland, all of which is managed sensitively for nature. Boyd farms his land for nature and manages all aspects of the farm with nature in mind, including his shorelines, wetlands, woodlands, field boundaries and non-farmed areas. Read more about Boyd’s farm here.
The Calvey Family farmed on Achill Island for seven generations. Martin farms a herd of 150 Black-faced Mountain Sheep on his shareholding of an extensive (20,000 acre) commonage, as well as on an area of machair (a rare seaside habitat). View more about the Calvey farm here.
Clive raises 100% grass-fed organic beef on his 130-acre farm in Ballymote, Co.Sligo. He has built his ‘Rare Ruminare’ brand based on his mix of traditional breeds such as Hereford, Shorthorn and Angus which are well suited to maintaining the farm’s species-rich grasslands. He sells his beef directly to the consumer. He uses mob grazing to ensure that grasslands are given time to recover between grazing periods and to improve the diversity of his grasslands through a more even grazing pressure and suitable stocking rate. Read more about Clive’s farm here.
Donal, along with his wife Ita and two children, farms a 70-cow dairy herd on ‘Blossom Farm’ near Castlelyons, in the Bride valley, Co. Cork. While Donal runs what would at first be considered a ‘typical’ intensive farm, he has a keen interest in farming in a more nature-friendly way. Find out more about Donal’s farm here.
Edmund Joyce is a drystock farmer from near Borris in Co Carlow. He runs a herd of limousin-cross suckler cows and a flock of commercial Suffolk-cross ewes on the 125 acre holding. More information on Edmund’s farm can be viewed here.
Gerard is a part-time farmer who runs a 85-acres farm near Moycullen, Co. Galway. Its scrub, woodland, and species rich grassland. He manages that farm with the help of pedigree Belted Galloway cattle and is a enthusiastic believer and promoter of High Nature Value farming and farms with wildlife primarily in mind. He is a good example of how marginal land can be farmed ecologically through correct stocking rates and represents the growing amount of part-time farmers. Read more about Gerard’s farm here.
Jim Cronin has a 16-acres organic market garden farm in Co.Clare where he has been adopting biological agriculture principles for the last 30 years without loosing many of the traditional methods of farming. More information on Jim’s farm here.
Joe & Eileen Condon
Joe and Eileen farm 50-acres of enclosed farmland along with 1000 acres of commonage in the Knockmealdown Mountains, Co. Tipperary. They keep a herd of Belted Galloways and Galloways which are 100% grass fed and organic. Read more about the Condon’s farm here.
John McHugh has a 230-acre organic dairy farm in Co.Laois. He moved away from being an intensive dairy farmer in 2015 when he realised that he needed to create a sustainable and resilient lifestyle that his children could carry on. More information on John’s farm here.
Kate runs a 9-acre chemical free farm dedicated to biodiversity and permaculture in Ballymore, Co. Westmeath. She bought the farm with her partner, Tom, just a couple of years ago and is a good example of which can be achieved both in terms of habitat building and yield production in a short amount of time. Read more about Kate’s farm here.
Kim & Mirielle McCall
Kim and his wife Mireille manage a 214-acre mixed livestock stock farm in Calverstown, Kilcullen, Co. Kildare. They keep a herd of 75 pedigree suckler cows and their followers, a flock of c.80 sheep, as well as a few pigs in the summertime. Find out more about the McCall family farm here.
Mark & Alison Hurst
Mark and Alison Hurst run the 70-acre Featherfield farm in Co.Kildare with their farm manager, Julian Laitenberger. The farm is very diverse with enterprises such as beef production from rare breed Dexter cattle, a small sheep enterprise, a poultry layer and broiler enterprise as well as a collection of rare breed poultry. There is also a small vegetable and fruit growing enterprise as well as a beekeeping enterprise. Read more about the Hursts’ Farm here.
Mervyn manages a 500-acre mixed cattle and tillage farm with his father along the shore of Lough Ree, Co.Roscommon. The farm uses a low disturbance strip till system to protect soil structure, increase earthworms, reduce leaching and prevent soil erosion. They use cover crops which are then mulched on top of the soil as a green manure. Additionally, slurry has been spread using a low-emission system for the last 10 years in intensively farmed areas of their land. Read more about Mervyn’s farm here.
Michael runs a 100-acre organic farm in New Inn, Co.Tipperary where he manages half the farm for tillage and the rest for his herd of 40 Aberdeen Angus and horses. The farm has a variety of habitats including seasonally flooded grasslands, fen areas, pastures and meadows. Read more about Michael’s farm here.
Oliver and his family farm 121 acres of winterage, meadow and pasture on the Burren at Slieve Carran, Co. Clare. He has been involved in the Burren Programme since it began and manages his land in a way that exemplifies farming for nature. More information on Oliver’s farm here.
Olly started his 8.5 acre farm in 2012 and since then has been developing it into a self-sufficient farm with nature and wildlife in mind. He has planted over a thousand native trees. More information on Olly’s farm here.
Padraic O Flaithearta
Pádraic Ó Flaithearta runs a small suckler farm on Inis Mór, Co. Galway. The farm is predominantly composed of orchid-rich calcareous grasslands and machair, Pádraic’s management is responsible for the conservation of some of the best examples of calcareous grassland in Ireland. More information on Pádraic’s farm here.
Padraic manages a 54-acre section of an old estate – which he and his family run as a Nature Reserve – composed of diverse range of tillage, grassland, woodland and wetland near to Mount Plunkett in Co.Roscommon. More information about Padraig’s farm here.
Pat is a sixth-generation hill sheep farmer in Glenmalure valley, Co. Wicklow. He farms with his two sons, together keeping 1,100 ewes on 1,250 acres of commonage. See more about Pat’s farm here.
Patrick Frankel runs Kilbrack Organic Farm with his partner Judith and their young family. This is a 145-acre farm in Doneraile, Co. Cork. His main focus is a wide a range of organic vegetables with 45 crops throughout the seasons. More information on Patrick’s farm here.
Oliver Nagle, farms a traditional Burren Winterage farm on the slopes of Slieve Carran in Co.Clare in a way that benefits both his farming system and his rich biodiversity, with much of the land receiving the highest environmental scores in the local results-based Burren Programme. See more about Oliver’s farm here.
Sean manages a 60-acre certified organic Cloncannon farm on the western slopes of the Devil’s bit Mountains, near Moneygall in North Tipperary. Sean has been farming since he took over from his father 15 years ago and now keeps a 20 cow suckler herd, as well as pigs, poultry and goats. See more about Sean’s farm here.
The Shackleton family farm 320-acres and have been providing organic grass-fed beef and lamb to their customer since 1996. Grazing traditional breeds Aberdeen Angus and Belted Galloway occurs on 60ha of the farm. The farm also has 5ha of semi-natural habitats including bogs, wetland (Mullagh Lake), woodland, hedgerows, hay meadows and stonewalls. More information on their farm here.
Sinead Moran & Michael McGrath
Sinéad Moran & Mick McGrath own a micro-dairy with a herd of traditional breed cows on 40-acres of high nature value farmland in Co. Mayo where they sell raw organic milk direct to customer. More information on their farm here.
Stephen is a full time farmer with an 80 cow suckler herd, taking all progeny to finish. He is not organic but is transitioning away from inputs. He also has a tillage and forestry enterprise in place. More information on Stephen’s farm here.
Suzanna’s farm is near Bennetts Bridge, in Co. Kilkenny. The farm’s species-rich meadows and pastures, woodlands, parkland, and numerous stand-alone mature trees, form a haven for local wildlife. She farms 12 acres on which she has 30 ewes and followers. More information on Suzanna’s farm here
Thomas and Claire O’Connor
Thomas and Claire manage a 25-acre mixed organic farm in Gleann na Gealt, Camp, Co. Kerry. They produce vegetables, salads, wheatgrass, meat, poultry and eggs which they sell locally in their shop in Tralee (Manna Organic Store). They have 15-acres of native Irish woodland and 4-acres of permaculture including fruit trees. They are a great example of diverse food production and biodiversity production all on very marginal land, of proving what is possible. See more on Thomas and Claire’s farm here.
Tom Keane farms in the Dawros catchment in Connemara. He farms 160 mountain ewes on a mosaic of high nature value peatlands and wet grasslands and is a participant of the Pearl Mussel Project EIP. More information on Thomas’s farm here.
Tommy is an organic beef farmer in Co.Roscommon who has restored habitats on his farm. For many years Tommy has consistently come up with and sought out ideas and ways to protect, promote and enhance the biodiversity, habitats and environmental awareness on the farm, in his local community and the region. See more about Tommy’s farm here.
Trevor runs two farms, there is the home farm, 140-acres, which is cattle and sheep both organic and biodynamic certified. He grazes the two together, selling his beef directly and the lamb is through ICM. It is a mixed enterprise with 12 acres in forestry and 40acres in cereal – he sells his oats to Flavahans and his barley to make a biodynamic whiskey. The second farm is horticultural land, 14 acres outdoors and 1500sqm indoors. More information on Trevor’s farm here.
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