Network based systems

A “guardian of nature” and organic farmer joins the Farming For Nature network

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Co. Wexford farmer Nicholas Redmond, who describes himself as “more of a nature keeper who is also a farmer”, has recently joined the Farming for Nature Ambassador Network.

The new Farming For Nature (FFN) Ambassador is a mixed organic farmer with sheep and dexterous cattle, who has a central vision of caring for nature and biodiversity.

The organic farmer is passionate about nature conservation and convinced that agricultural activities should not have a negative impact on the land. The new FFN ambassador said:

“Tit includes a bass mixed stocking rate, low maintenance old pasture and rare traditional flower meadows, traditional orchards, large hardwood canopy cover, tall untrimmed hedgerows and traditional agricultural ponds all of which provide wildlife corridors.

Very few external inputs are used in Nicholas’ extensive farming system – no chemical fertilizers, no concentrates and minimal machinery – which includes species-rich grassland and a mixed rotational grazing system.

Biodiversity

With pastures full of native Irish wildflowers and grasses, the Wexford-based farmer works with Irish Wildflowers to harvest and sow the meadow each year. Nicholas explained:

“These seeds are then redistributed to other farms/regions of the country, thus helping to ensure the vitality of these species. The variety of different plants and trees around the land makes it extremely rich in biodiversity and attracts lots of wildlife.

Approximately 18 acres of land is under logging comprising old oak forest and mixed deciduous forest, with an additional 4 acres of hay meadow. The farm also includes an orchard where a variety of fruits and vegetables are grown, and has a number of chickens, donkeys and alpacas.

Many wild animals are present on the County Wexford farm, including buzzards; jays; peaks; troglodytes; robins; finches; blackbirds; and thrushes. Other species found on the farm include foxes, badgers, gray squirrels and hedgehogs.

Nicholas added that he operates a nature-friendly farming system because he enjoys living in a landscape rich in biodiversity and enjoying the beauty of nature; he feels called to protect it and enhance it for future generations.

Agriculture for nature

Farming For Nature is now in its fourth year and was set up to research, share and shine a light on the stories of farmers nationwide who are managing their land sustainably.

The Wexford farmer is one of 23 ambassadors this year who come from across Ireland, including cattle, sheep, forestry, dairy, horticulture and tillage.

The Ambassador Network is made up of family farms, couples and farmers, women and men, who manage a wide range of highly valued habitats, including species-rich grasslands and heaths, wetlands, woodlands and hedges.

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