LIMERICK farmer Sean Condon has been chosen as a Farming for Nature Ambassador for 2022.
He is one of five Ambassadors chosen for the 2022 Farming for Nature Public Vote Awards.
Now in its fifth year, Farming For Nature (FFN, www.farmingfornature.ie) was set up with the aim of identifying, celebrating and supporting farmers who are farming, or farmers who wish to farm, in ways that support and protect nature on their land.
This year’s ambassadors come from right across Ireland and include beef, dairy, forestry, horticulture and tillage farmers who manage a wide range of valuable habitats including species-rich grasslands and heaths, wetlands, uplands, woodlands and more.
The public are invited to vote for their favourite farming story by visiting www.farmingfornature.ie. You can learn more about each Ambassador by viewing a specially commissioned short film which provides an insight into these farmers and their inspiring work.
Sean Condon is an organic dairy farmer from Crecora, County Limerick. He farms about 140 acres of good grassland and runs an extensive dairy farming system, milking 50 cows once a day.
External inputs on the farm are extremely low and Sean takes pride in managing a low-input, low intensity productive farm.
Some of the milk produced is sold under Sean’s own brand of organic raw milk – Templeroe Milk. The remainder is sold to the Little Milk Company. Sean is passionate about maintaining traditional farming systems whereby production and nature work in harmony. He said: “For me, farming for nature may be more about what I’m not doing rather than what I am doing”.
Permanent pasture, mature hedgerows, pockets of woodland and a pond all provide important habitats for the healthy population of birds and other wildlife on the land. Some years ago, a reed-bed system was installed to clean run-off water from the farmyard. Sean leaves wild plants to grow around the farm and recognises their importance in farmland ecosystems.
“If you don’t have some weeds on the land then you don’t have insects, and without insects there is not much food source for young birds,” he explained.
Dr Brendan Dunford of the Burren Programme, founder and committed volunteer with Farming for Nature said: “At a time of so much divisive debate around food security, biodiversity loss and climate change, this year’s farming for nature ambassadors offer us the hope, inspiration and practical advice that we so desperately need to navigate the challenges – and embrace the opportunities – that lie ahead. These farmers deserve our respect, gratitude and support: they embody all that’s great about rural Ireland and we are so proud of them.”
The five Ambassadors will be featured at the annual Burren Winterage Weekend (www.burrenwinterage.com) in October when the winner of the Public Vote Award will also be announced. Ten additional Ambassadors have been announced and will be profiled over the coming months, bringing the FFN Ambassador network to a total of 81 wonderful farms located across the island.
The Farming for Nature Awards are sponsored by Bord Bia and supported by a wide range of farming and conservation interests including the Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the National Rural Network. The deadline for voting is midnight Friday October 28. For more information go to www.farmingfornature.ie.