At the launch of the Burren Winterage School in Corofin on Thursday, 22nd October, Bord Bía awarded prizes to Burren farmers within 6 different categories. The Burren community and delegates of European Forum for Nature Conservation and Pastoralism (EFNCP) applauded the well-deserved farmers for their hard work, over the past six years, as part of the Burren Life Programme.     Jim O’Toole of Bord Bía presented the awards to the well-deserved winners. (Photos by Willie O’Reilly).  Congratulations, one and all.

Burren Life Farmer of the Year: Oliver Nagle, Pullagh

In acknowledgement of the outstanding quality of management over the past 5 years which has seen the average environmental score on this holding improve from an initial 70% (2010) to the current ‘perfect’ score of 100%. Achieving this has taken a lot of planning and hard work – protecting water sources, removing scrub, repairing walls, installing gates and solar fences – as well as improved livestock management, particularly the introduction of light summer grazing. Oliver and his father Pat have also made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of Burren Life by hosting many visiting groups including, HRH Prince Charles.

Burren Life Farm Family of the Year: The Jeuken Family, Poulnalour

IMG_8557 (1350x964)In acknowledgement of the outstanding work being carried out by Harry, Maria, Melissa, Eileen, Matthew, Chris and Neal on their farm, and in the farm café, at Poulnalour and Boston. The quality of their scrub control work, wall repairs, gate installation and innovative rainwater harvesting techniques has been exceptional, as has the grazing management of their herds of belted Galloway cattle and farm goats. A wonderful farm to visit, via the Poulnalour looped walk, and a place to enjoy home cooked food and hospitality.

Best Winterage Pasture: Bernard McNamara

IMG_8550 (1350x964)Bernard was awarded for his field (F1) on Slieve, or as he would call it, Mount Carran. This extensive, 46ha, hill-top winterage overlooking Slieve Carran Nature Reserve scores 10 on BLP M1 scoring system. This reflects the excellent grazing and feeding systems, the low levels of weeds and scrub and excellent overall ecological integrity of the site.

Best Lowland Meadow: JJ Keane

IMG_8546 (1350x965)JJ received this award for his roadside meadow at Newtown, Ballyvaughan.  A 2.8ha field of exceptionally species-rich grassland which scores 10 on the BLP lowland grassland assessment. The survival of this field in its original ‘flowery’ state, when so many similar fields have been reseeded and fertilised out of existence, stands testament to its value as a ‘hospital field’ and to the on-going high standard of traditional management of its habitats and soil.

Best Standard of Farm  Conservation Works: Philomena Hynes, Carron

IMG_8542 (1350x966)Over the past 5 years an enormous amount of work has been done on this farm from scrub removal to wall repair, water provision to an access track, and each and every one of these jobs has been carried out with an exceptional level of diligence and attention to detail. All of which, have contributed to the very high environmental health score of 93% for this 100ha farm.

Most improved farm 2010-2015: Michael Moroney

IMG_8552 (1350x964)Michael’s M1 score improved from an average of 50.44% (2010) to 85.91% (2015). Like many Burren winterages, those of Michael Moroney were undergrazed at the start of Burren Life. Despite initial concerns, Michael moved from feeding silage to concentrates and introduced summer grazing. Along with his hard work controlling scrub, improving water supplies and cutting weeds on old silage feeding sites, the increase in grazing levels resulted in the biggest improvement in overall score of any farm in Burren Life.