This is Biodiversity Week, and farmers are celebrating it online in a way that should hearten all of us – by telling the small stories of ways in which nature is being enhanced on their farms.
The stories may have been triggered as a response to some of the current negativity towards farming, but they quickly moved past that.
Twitter and Instagram, in particular, have become a great method of communicating a simple story. Words, photographs and short videos can all combine to paint a vivid picture. One of the most interesting and revealing aspects of this dynamic is the breadth of farms that are sharing their stories.
At the other end of the spectrum, Kerry farmer Shane McAuliffe is one of Ireland’s larger pig producers
The wonderful “IrelandsFarmers” Twitter feed this week comes from Aoife Nic Giolla Coda from Galtee Honey, who, as you might imagine, is working very closely with nature every day.
At the other end of the spectrum, Kerry farmer Shane McAuliffe is one of Ireland’s larger pig producers.
He has shared a series of nature features across his farm including a stunning sequence of a woodland dell, with stunning limestone cliffs, that contains the source of the river Maine, along with badgers and deer.
Our own Bill O’Keeffe also shared a new habitat being developed by the farmyard.
This all sharply contrasts with the “industrial farming” narrative some would impose on Irish family farms.
It’s a term that is often bandied about with little definition
While we’re at it, it’s worth talking a little about “industrial farming”.
It’s a term that is often bandied about with little definition.
An Taisce has said that “industrial farmers” would be the beneficiaries of the proposed cheese plant being built at Belview.
Oh really? Tell that to the 1,000 Glanbia suppliers with fewer than 50 dairy cows. Or perhaps tell it to the other 1,000 Glanbia suppliers with between 50 and 80 dairy cows. They would be bemused to hear they are “industrial farmers”.
The average Glanbia supplier produces 550,000 litres from a herd of slightly over 100 cows. About four in five are spring milk suppliers. Inconvenient truths for An Taisce to consider.
So go on to your chosen social media, like the messages that chime with you, share them and please consider sharing your own story
Farmers need to tell their own stories, and not be pigeonholed in the public mind by commentators and activists. That is why Biodiversity Week is so important.
So go on to your chosen social media, like the messages that chime with you, share them and please consider sharing your own story.
Every farmer has a story worth telling, and the combined narrative is one of conscientious people with a genuine sense of place and an understanding of the value of continuity and preservation of nature on their farms.
The world can only hear us if we raise our voices.