Angus producer and organic pioneer is turning back the clock on biodiversity
Producer profile: Tommy Earley
Tommy Earley has been farming organically since 1996, just outside of Drumshanbo in Co Leitrim.
This year he was the first farmer to host a Field Talk event as part of the IOFGA 2017 Field Talk programme. The focus of his talk was biodiversity. Tommy has prioritised conservation of the natural habitats on the farm and local areas.
The 100ac farm is located on the banks of Lough Allen, and while the topography is typical of the area and is generally marginal land, he has developed a number of habitats on the farm that allow biodiversity to flourish.
He has Aberdeen Angus suckler cows, 25 acres of forestry and additional natural woodlands, beehives, two large ponds, 25 acres of raised bog and a horticulture development he calls "Meitheal allotments".
The Arigna river borders the farm and brings with it a host of wildlife such as otters who use Tommy's farm as a playground moving from the river to the ponds and back again.
Tommy has been interested in conservation for many years and when he converted to organic farming with IOFGA he had the desire to "ensure that the land remained as it was so that when people look back in 100 years the natural habitats and land quality will have been maintained".
Tommy has recently laid down some pathways around the farm to facilitate the number of visitors, which ranges from schoolchildren to scientists with expertise in plant and animal conservation.
"One of the great findings we have had on the farm over the last few years is an elusive rare orchid called Irish Lady Tresses, which is a small orchid with cream coloured flowers that occurs in damp meadows in Ireland, Canada and parts of the outer Scottish Hebrides.