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Managing over 400,000 animals on a quarter of an acre

Tonight’s episode of Ear to the Ground features a segment on snail farming, the sudden closure of two peat-fired power stations in the midlands and the production of kefir.

In a tiny corner near Tuam in Co. Galway, one young farmer is managing over 400,000 animals on just a quarter of an acre.

Snail farmer, Steven Ryan is working hard to raise his miniature herd to maturity, while also trying to find an Irish market to sell them to.

Helen Carroll spent a day with Steven and introduces him to French chef, Dominique from the nearby Glenlo Abbey Hotel. Can they convince him to add escargot to the menu?

An uncertain future

The sudden closure of two peat-fired power stations in the midlands has left Bord na Mona workers facing an uncertain future. Darragh McCullough visits Longford and Offaly to see how local communities are facing the challenge of life post peat. Pat Joe Cox has worked for

Bord na Mona for 15 years and hopes to get work rehabilitating the cutaway bog lands.

Meanwhile, Ger Fallon has retrained as a birch water harvester after years of harvesting peat. Dearbáil Ni Chualáin of Bord na Mona has high hopes that fish farming, herb growing, and wind energy can help replace the peat industry of the past.

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Every morning, Joe Egan milks his 65-strong dairy herd in Ballygar in Co. Galway. Most of this organic milk is sent to supermarkets around the country, but some is set aside for a different product that is soaring in popularity. Kefir is a fermented milk drink with a consistency similar to thin yogurt, and is full of probiotics.

Ella Mc Sweeney followed Joe’s milk from the cow to the kefir bottle and meets some people who are fighting back against rural decline by building their own food businesses.


Tune into Ear to the Ground at 7:00pm tonight (Thursday, February 27th).

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