The Shackleton family farm 320-acres and having been providing organic grass-fed beef and lamb to their customers since 1996.
Grazing traditional breeds, Aberdeen Angus and Belted Galloways, 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, all of which are managed by owners who have qualifications in ecology, landscape design and environmental management.
New habitats have been created, such as a 20ha mixed conifer and hardwood woodland which is managed as agroforestry; hedgerows and an ornamental garden which supports a varied bird population.
The farm has a traditional orchard, beehive and is self-sufficient in vegetables. Monitoring of birds and insects for Biodiversity Ireland is ongoing. The farm is also open for farm walks for IOGFA, Bord Bia and others. A boardwalk and birdwatching hide have been constructed along the lake edge. A publicly assessable nature walk passes through the farm and the explanatory information panel along this route in the farm is curated by the owners.
The Shackletons are fully committed to their approach to farming and enthusiastic to share this knowledge and experience online, with groups, the local community and schools. They believe “Farming extensively is the future, it is better for the bank, the life balance, the herd and most importantly the wildlife”.
Farming for Nature
Now in its third year, Farming For Nature was set up with an aim to source, share and celebrate the stories of farmers across Ireland who manage their land in a way that sustains nature, while providing a livelihood for their family.
Nominations are sought annually from a broad panel of environmental experts and through a rigorous system of interviews, farm visits and assessments by a panel of judges, 16 of these farmers were selected as ambassadors in 2020.
Of these, 8 ambassadors have been chosen to represent a cross-section of the farming community during September and October.
They will be featured at the Burren Winterage Weekend at the end of October when the winner of the public vote will also be announced.
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 2020 voting is midnight Friday, October 23rd, 2020 – To vote or to obtain any further information, click here.